Book Review: “The Blessing of a B-” by Wendy Mogel, PhD

Wendy Mogel, author of The Blessing of a B-, looked ahead with confidence to the time she would parent her own adolescent children. After all, she had successfully navigated the challenges of parenting through the childhood years. In addition, she was a clinical psychologist who specialized in parenting and had worked with families for over 30 years. She had the knowledge and the expertise…she had even written a book on parenting children (The Blessing of a Skinned Knee). However, as her children became teens, she experienced “unrelenting power struggles over every conceivable topic,” monosyllabic responses rather than conversations, battles over neatness, confusion over which battles to fight, and grief that her adolescents were posting signs to “keep her out” of their rooms and choosing to spend to time with friends rather than family. Dr. Mogel discovered that parenting teens is hard work. She discovered that parenting teens is very different than parenting children. She turned to her Jewish traditions and rabbinic teaching for help in navigating the challenges of parenting teens. Fortunately for us, she has shared her insights in this book.
The Blessings of a B- offers excellent advice to any parent who is about to experience, or is currently experiencing, the years of parenting a teen. With a candor that can only come from someone who has been there and wisdom that combines her beliefs about God, expert parenting knowledge, and developmental research, Dr. Mogel shares lessons on how to survive the wilderness of adolescence and make it to the “promise land.”  Dr. Mogel encourages parents to accept their teens as “gloriously ordinary” by protecting them from society’s performance-oriented definition of success.  Chapters cover such topics as how to set your teen free, how to live graciously with the “chronically rude,” the true lesson of homework, guiding teens “out of the wilderness” of materialism and entitlement, and making time for rest and fun. Perhaps my favorite chapter deals with letting teens learn from bad judgment and stressful situations. Overall, Dr. Mogel acknowledges the challenges of parenting a teen…and offers personal testimony to that challenge. She also offers excellent advice for navigating those challenging years and a bright light of hope at the end of the tunnel…a confident expectation that the promise land awaits us at the end of our journey through the wilderness of parenting a teen.
Click here to view Dr. Mogel’s website and more information about her.

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