I saw this story on the Omamas blog: A talk with Wendy Mogel, author of ‘Blessing of a Skinned Knee.’
The author is giving a talk at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center this Thursday (tomorrow) the 7th. I hadn’t heard of her prior to reading the post, and I don’t know if I’m going to make it out to the Hillsdale area tomorrow, but based on her advice in the interview, I may very well check out her book. As a parent, I believe that parents who overparent are worse than parents who underparent. I think parents who don’t allow their kids to make decisions, who micromanage their kids, and who create an environment of fear, are much worse than parents who simply don’t show up. I like her quote: “The kids who do best in college are the kids who have life skills and not this fancy academic sophistication.”
I don’t know if I speak for the rest of you, but I was horrified when I read reviews for Top of the Class, a book written by two Korean American sisters a few years ago on how to raise kids Asian style. I never read the book, but based on some of the interviews with the two sisters (verified by the Amazon.com comments), the book advocated a military style of raising kids, including having family reviews of report cards. It bordered on child abuse.
I think Mogel’s style is just her personal interpretation of Jewish law. This is the first time I’ve heard anyone say that Jewish parents are lax; in fact, I’ve heard exactly the opposite. Regardless of whether it’s Jewish, Goy, Asian, or American, however, the style makes sense to me. The last thing a kid needs is for a zealous parent to micromanage his soul, and my belief is that if you teach a child street smarts combined with a curiosity about life, he or she will be able to take care of himself or herself. Of course, I’m writing this while my son is only three and my daughter just started eating solids.