Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Blessing of a B Minus

Check out Dr. Wendy Mogel’s latest book, The Blessing of a B Minus. It focuses on raising teens while her first book, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee focused on younger children. I’ve heard Dr. Mogel speak several times and each time I appreciate how straight forward her approach is. With humor and experience, she speaks and writes about common sense approaches to raising a healthy family.

Some quotes I like from The Blessing of a B Minus:

p. 10
Ordinary is no longer good enough…

p. 11
Our culture has such a narrow definition of success: grades, gregariousness, ambition and appearance.

p. 13
Today most of our teens are protected from anything that looks like rough or dangerous labor. We put them to work in a different way: studying until midnight and spending all weekend at travel hockey tournaments. Their job? To bring glory and reassurance to the family.

p. 15
…it feels as if there’s no more room for the trial and error of adolescence, for childishness or clumsiness or bad attitudes.

p. 26
…try to cultivate appreciation for your teen—not just for what you find easy to love about her, but for what you don’t.

p. 31
Overly strict expectations, with no room for the emotional inexperience of adolescence, will backfire.

p. 40
It is critical for you not to get lost in the fear that your teen’s rudeness is a permanent moral flaw.

p. 45
Teens are more receptive to guidance if, with some regularity, they perceive their parents as allies.

p. 50
When parents let their teens believe they are too special to do ordinary work [chores] they raise “handicapped royalty” – young people who study brilliantly and are full of conviction but don’t know how clothes get clean or how to read a credit card bill.

p. 57
As time-consuming as homework is, don’t let it prevent you from assigning chores to your teen.

p. 61
Do you leave all the cleaning to a housekeeper because you work so very hard? If so, you are teaching your child the lesson that busy people don’t have to clean up after themselves.

p. 62
Your house—the container of the family—is a holy place. It should be a reasonably civilized and orderly environment.

p. 68
The lives of teens are full of manufactured responsibilities: get good grades, be captain of this, star of that. They feel as if their whole future is at stake, every moment, when of course it isn’t.

p. 72
Thoughts, feelings, and actions that are pathological at one stage of life are normal at another.

p. 77
A steady diet of rewards can actually backfire and reduce intrinsic motivation.

p. 89
If your family’s resources run only in one direction, from parent to child, it’s time to reverse the flow a little.

p. 91
Children from working class homes report the highest level of happiness, while uppermiddle class children report the least. The reasons? Privileged children, deprived of deep longing, consequently are deprived of deep satisfaction.

p. 95
An increasing number of college freshmen are returning home after the first semester, unable to cope.

p. 100
Administrators point out that kids who have learned to connect with nonparental adults fare much better in college than those who depend solely on their parents for assistance.

p. 126
Don’t pretend to grant your teen unlimited cyber privacy and then spy on her browsing history or Facebook page when she’s at school.

p. 142
Skip the lectures…teens tune you out after the first two sentences…

p. 148
Adolescents are resources to be developed, not problems to be solved

p. 148
Just smile, be curious about whatever it is your teen is doing, and fight the urge to ask, “how will you describe this activity on your college application?”

p. 159
If you are too shocked or moralzing, you will not prevent teen experimentation; you will simply drive it underground.

p. 160
It’s good for them to have some experience with substances and sexual behavior before they head off to college…The benefit is the opportunity for teens to develop self-knowledge and risk management skills while they are still under their parents’ care.

p. 165
Slow down. Do not react in fear. Listen without lecturing, and without interrupting. Ask open-ended questions.

p. 175
Remember that your teen is listening, watching, studying intently, eager to learn. If your teens observe you enjoying yourself…they will be comforted by your contentment.

Any comments?


  1. love this! Will have to get this book.

  2. Thanks for posting!

    I'm getting the book and giving it as gifts, too!