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A good word for the disorientation many parents feel during their children's teenage years is "perplexed." In a twist on the title of Maimonides's 12th-century philosophical tome The Guide for the Perplexed, Doades offers a compassionate parenting manual that aims Judaism's messages at the "tumultuous, challenging and chaotic" teen years. "Parenting Jewish teens today is about finding something to hang onto (Judaism works) as you try to hang onto your kids (don't give up, no matter what they look, smell or act like)," she writes. Contemporary society, plagued by a decline in communal connectedness, compounds the hormonal upheaval by providing few consequences for behavior and popularizing a culture that denigrates authority, she says. Judaism's enduring values will not only serve them in good stead, providing tools to evaluate their choices, but will comfort and direct parents in maintaining dignity, sanity and family relationships. In a sympathetic parent-to-parent tone, Doades explores issues of separation, culture, conflict, family relationships, changing parental roles, interfaith dilemmas and special-needs situations, with examples from the Bible and Jewish literature. She urges parents to start Jewish teen parenting groups, and concludes that despite the normal teenage need for separation, parents must echo the Bible's message, Hineini, "Here I am." (Jan.)
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"We Jewish parents, and perhaps others as well, need a glimpse of the meaning that lies beyond the minute-by-minute, day-to-day encounters in the struggle of parenting emerging adults. In the everyday battles of life with our teens, we need the benefits and the comfort that the teachings and the wisdom that have guided and sustained the Jewish people through countless generations can provide." --from the PrefaceSee all Editorial Reviews