The Blessing of a Skinned Knee


Wendy Mogel

Times change but basic human needs remain the same. While parenting needs to adapt to changes over time, such as smart phones, it also needs to remain unchanged in its fundamentals. While western society is more focused on the individual than traditional eastern societies, children need to learn to grow up within a community and be able to contribute to that community.


Your children will only accept your guidance and heed your advice if they respect you. In fact, it’s fair to say that if you don’t teach your children to honor you, you’ll have a very hard time teaching them anything else.


In psychology, the theory of cognitive behaviorism holds that feelings follow behavior. In other words, rather than wait for your children to feel like being agreeable, you can teach them habits of politeness. If you and they use polite phrases every day, feelings of gratitude and respect grow out of them.

Children need to learn to be polite regardless of how they are feeling.


The family is the laboratory, and you are teaching the science of living. Parents experience pain in raising children. Children also experience pain and if parents try to inoculate children against the pain of life, they cannot grow strong. They won’t learn to swim. And the message communicated by all this loving parental protection is that the child doesn’t have what it takes to swim alone. By giving them a chance to survive some reckless or thoughtless choices, we teach them how to withstand the bumps and knocks of life.



If parents rush in to rescue them from distress, children don’t get an opportunity to learn that they can suffer and recover on their own.



Freud said that the goal of psychoanalysis was modest: to convert neurotic misery into ordinary unhappiness.

We can help children become calmer and more resilient by staying calm ourselves.

No one is born feeling grateful. It is an acquired skill.


Children who get most of their desires satisfied right away don’t have a chance to appreciate what they already have. Deprived of opportunities to wait and dream and long for something, they never learn to value their possessions or experiences.

Life should be a work-study program – we have to apply our knowledge.

In addition to giving children a sense of their obligation to other people, doing chores gives them survival skills. By teaching our children a habit of responsibility at an early age, we give them the confidence to take on ever-more complex challenges as they grow older. And helping out at home raises self-esteem: when parents insist that children do their chores, they are letting them know that they’re not just loved, they are needed. Ordinary chores are the foundation of our children’s character.


Parent educator Barbara Coloroso says it’s not the severity of a consequence that has an impact on children but the certainty. Same goes for rewards.


In today’s world, teaching children to eat in a healthy way and to demonstrate self-control and good judgment about food is like having an AA meeting in a bar.

All parents need to civilize their children.

Parents have a paradoxical mission. We have to work hard not to provide our children with interesting things to do. Children need a chance to build up their boredom tolerance muscle. This was written before electronics were as ubiquitous as they are now. Treat daydreaming and fooling around as valuable activities. Being messy, noisy, silly, goofy, and vegging-out are as essential to the development of your child’s mind and spirit as anything else he does.


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