The Blessing of a B Minus: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Resilient Teenagers

Wendy Mogel, Scribner, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4165-4203-2
Social-clinical psychologist Mogel concentrates on the hidden blessings of raising teenagers in this engaging follow-up to The Blessing of a Skinned Knee. Intermingling wisdom and guidelines from Judaism and adolescent psychology, Mogel compares the teen years to the journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. As kids wander in the "desert" of adolescence, she advises parents to offer counsel and guidance, demonstrate empathy without entanglement, and resist the urge to intervene or rescue. In chapters peppered with true-to-life examples and humor, Mogel examines the blessings of a B minus, staying up late, hangovers, breaking the rules, and a variety of other teen topics, urging parents not just to look on the bright side, but to help kids benefit from the learning opportunities inherent in difficult situations. Some of her advice may be challenging for readers to follow: for instance, she recommends that parents refrain from broaching the subject of college until grade 11. She also encourages parents to let teens learn from their own mistakes and to respect their yetzer hara (aggressive impulse), while seeking balance with a sense of teshuvah (repentance). Mogel's compassion and authenticity will ring true with parents of all faiths facing the tumultuous teen years. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/06/2010
Release date: 10/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
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