Monday, January 16, 2012

Let Them Fail: The Blessings of a B Minus

First, I should say that I hope the author didn't mind me reading this book because I'm not Jewish. But I've already read Wendy Mogel's earlier book on letting your children fall down, so when I saw The Blessings of a B Minus on the library's Interesting shelves, I picked it up.  And eventually I read it, because I do have a teenager now.

The Blessing of a B Minus
Mogel's main point is that teenagers are practicing to be adults, and if their parents don't let them fail, then they'll be unprepared when they do go off on their own.  On the other hand, teenagers aren't actually adult yet, so they do need support and balance, so just pretending they know what they are doing doesn't make much sense either.  Instead she covers picking battles, and why some battles aren't worth fighting until after their brains mature. Sometimes avoiding battles means ignoring behavior that you don't approve of (sullenness, arguing), and sometimes it means simply removing yourself from a situation rather than staying around to convince the teen that this is a bad decision.  This can mean handing over laundry duties and then not interfering when the same clothes appear daily.

Mogel thinks it helps to occasionally treat dealing with your teenager as an anthropological field trip -- look at the strange local customs and costumes of these bizarre inhabitants of Teen World.  Sometimes I felt the same way just reading about her examples; her teens grew up as in rich Jewish LA neighborhoods that seem wildly different from anything I or my teen will see.  But reading the book helped keep me grounded as my teenager and I negotiated a rough morning, so I appreciate the advice about keeping your common sense around and not meeting your adolescent in emotional stand-offs at every moment.  Our family rituals might revolve less around the Sabbath and more around Magic card games, but her points still seem sound.


Jim Randolph said...

"Our family rituals might revolve less around the Sabbath and more around Magic card games, but her points still seem sound."

Quote of the day!

Ms. Yingling said...

There are SOOOO many girl books out there, Beth! When I go to the public library, it's just about all I come home with! If you ever have any problems with recommendations, just e mail me and we can find the right books for your girls. Some areas of interest are harder than others, but getting books for the girls is the easy part of my job! Thanks for stopping by.