February 21, 2018

What I’m Reading: The Blessing of a B Minus

The Blessing of a B MinusBy Julie Samrick

How could your teen earning a B- be seen as a plus in our uber-competitive society these days? I am neither Jewish, nor do I have teenaged kids just yet, but I just finished reading The Blessing of a B Minus: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Resilient Teenagers with my book club this month, and its author, Wendy Mogel, offers many nuggets of wisdom.


Here are my favorites (and see the one I am still grappling with below) :


  • Raising adolescents is the best opportunity you will ever have to develop your leadership qualities.


  • To make this process of moving away and establishing their own identity more bearable, teenagers must need to make you less attractive so that eventually it will be easier to leave you.


  • Keeping in mind that teenagers have the right to strong negative feelings, concentrate on behaviors rather than attitudes.


  • If you absolve your teen from routine responsibilities like laundry, you will teach him that there are two types of work: exalted and menial.


  • We’re all busy, and often it’s easier to do everything yourself than to wait for a slow-paced, sloppy, preoccupied teen to do it. But chores are the curriculum of life. And the tuition is free!


  • A paid job is one of the best ways to teach teens respect, self-discipline, maturity and integrity.


  • An over satiated child behaves like a baby or a bully, but her attitude actually develops out of a sense of impotence.


  • A steady diet of rewards can actually backfire and reduce intrinsic motivation.


  • Allowing your teen to become a selfish and spoiled teenager allows you to feel martyred, indignant, injured….and morally superior.


  • Teens can remind us what we have lost through fearfulness, exhaustion, withdrawal, and tentativeness. Where adults are polite and numb, teens are rude and vibrant.


  • If your teen comes to you for advice, be honored. Demonstrate your respect by listening to the whole story. Don’t immediately cluck or go into embarrassed or stern and shocked mode.


And one quote I don’t quite agree with…


  • Limited experimentation with alcohol, physical intimacy, and even drugs teaches teens how to regulate these powerful experiences and keep themselves safe while still under your roof.


How about you?  Are there any quotes on this list that especially speak to you, or that you might not agree with?


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