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The Blessing of a B Minus: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Resilient Teenagers Paperback – September 13, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Social-clinical psychologist Mogel concentrates on the hidden blessings of raising teenagers in this engaging follow-up to The Blessing of a Skinned Knee. Intermingling wisdom and guidelines from Judaism and adolescent psychology, Mogel compares the teen years to the journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. As kids wander in the "desert" of adolescence, she advises parents to offer counsel and guidance, demonstrate empathy without entanglement, and resist the urge to intervene or rescue. In chapters peppered with true-to-life examples and humor, Mogel examines the blessings of a B minus, staying up late, hangovers, breaking the rules, and a variety of other teen topics, urging parents not just to look on the bright side, but to help kids benefit from the learning opportunities inherent in difficult situations. Some of her advice may be challenging for readers to follow: for instance, she recommends that parents refrain from broaching the subject of college until grade 11. She also encourages parents to let teens learn from their own mistakes and to respect their yetzer hara (aggressive impulse), while seeking balance with a sense of teshuvah (repentance). Mogel's compassion and authenticity will ring true with parents of all faiths facing the tumultuous teen years. (Oct.) (c)
Copyright © PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


“Wise, witty and well-written, this book is a treasury of common sense for anyone dealing with adolescents.”

--Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People

“Wendy Mogel's signature humor, humility and wisdom are back in full force in The Blessing of a B Minus, which will bring much-needed sanity to parents of teens. Hers is the voice that every parent dreams of finding while wading through the confusion of childrearing today: calm, knowing, empathetic and informed both by professional knowledge and personal experience. Her insights are infused with a widely appealing kind of faith that will strike a universal chord in parents seeking both a moral and practical compass. This is a book that will be re-read over and over again.”

--Judith Warner, author of Perfect Madness and We’ve Got Issues

"We should all give thanks for The Blessing of a B Minus. Like Wendy Mogel herself, this book is funny and full of common sense. It will give parents something they need: perspective on the complicated and often maddening business of raising adolescents."
--Michael Thompson, Ph.D., author of It's a Boy: Your Son's Development from Birth to Eighteen

“Wendy Mogel’s ability to make old wisdom new is uncanny. She is herself a wise woman. The parents of America – and therefore the children, too – should be grateful for her.”
--Leon Wieseltier

“In this remarkably frank, helpful book Wendy Mogel offers practical advice and comforting perspective on all the issues, large and small, that families of all faiths and backgrounds confront as their children move through adolescence. Here is a voice of humor, reason, and compassionate sanity in a culture driven by hyper-competitiveness, hyper-vigilance, and hyper-activity. The Blessing of a B Minus inspires and consoles. Most importantly, this very readable book gives us the tools we need to become more conscious, confident parents. This is not Jewish wisdom, it is human wisdom, and I for one am a most grateful recipient.”

--Katrina Kenison, author of The Gift of an Ordinary Day --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (September 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416542043
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416542049
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Wendy Mogel is a clinical psychologist and author of the New York Times bestselling parenting book, "The Blessing of a Skinned Knee." Her book about raising resilient teenagers, "The Blessing of a B Minus," was released in 2010. A popular keynote speaker, she lectures at conferences and schools around the world. In the summer of 2014 she had the pleasure of giving a TEDx talk called "The Ben Franklin Life Hack" at the Burning Man art and music festival in the Nevada desert.

Please visit her website: for a full biography, to see her upcoming schedule and to follow her on Twitter. She is currently interviewing students, scientists and school nurses for her next parenting book, a guide to the modern choreography of conversations. Chapters will include the art of talking to babies, children, teenagers, your own parents, your spouse or partner, yourself and the dead.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 69 people found the following review helpful By John F. Lehman on October 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A book with the year's best title just happens to be the best book on parenting teens. It purports to use Jewish teachings to raise resilient teenagers, but whether or not that is the source of this life-saving wisdom, as a parent of former teenagers (they are now in their forties), I can't praise this books message enough. In fact, instead of nitpicking, let me give you some of its invaluable conclusions:

1. Bizarre teen behavior, so annoyingly not in line with your dreams and plans, is a sign that your teen's unique personality is unfolding.
2. Teenaged rudeness is a paradox. It lets you know that your teen is trying desperately to separate from you and that your are the "safe" person who can receive their frustration with not yet being all grown up.
3. One of the ways teens learn about the importance of hard work is by suffering the consequences of their procrastination and laziness.
4. Materialism and self-centeredness are normal during this period of rapid and shifting identity. Just as a pregnant woman focuses inward, adolescents are preoccupied as they give birth to themselves.
5. When teens break the rules, or even the law, it is often because they aren't satisfied with a merely rote knowledge of our ethical system. They want to know if adults mean what they say.
6. Teens getting into hot water provides an excellent opportunity for learning self-reliance: how to solve problems and how to mine difficult circumstances for their benefits.
7. Staying up late is sometimes a teen's shot at independence, and goofing around is a way to ease the stresses of growing up.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By hmf22 on October 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I read Wendy Mogel's Blessing of a B Minus as a teacher, rather than a parent, of teenagers. It's a wonderful book, one that truly respects teenagers' intellectual and moral capacities and the inherent difficulties of their quest to individuate and develop adult value systems. While The Blessing of a B Minus is primarily a book about how to relate, advise, and discipline, it also points adults towards the opportunities for spiritual and personal growth that arise from parenting (or even working with) adolescents. I found it absorbing and inspiring.

Mogel emphasizes many ideas I wish I could share with the parents of my students. I especially appreciated her discussion of the importance of respecting teenagers' individual personalities, tastes, and strengths. I also liked her emphasis on how work--whether in the form of chores, babysitting, tutoring, or a conventional summer job--can cultivate self-respect and problem-solving ability. Though Mogel includes only a little scientific material on brain function, what she does cite is quite illuminating. Her conclusion that "If you think of your teen as ping-ponging between the ages of five and thirty-five, his behavior won't seem so odd" (22) matches my own experience with this age group, as does her assertion that teenagers often act up towards their parents while simultaneously displaying great maturity at school and in other public situations, because home is a safe place for a person who is ready to be an adult most of the time, but not all of the time, to regress a little.

This book is every bit as wonderful as Mogel's Blessing of a Skinned Knee, and it's written in very much the same spirit. I can't wait to see what Mogel writes next!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jerald Lazar on November 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a big fan of Dr. Mogel's previous book (Blessing of a Skinned Knee), I approached this new one with high expectations, and was not disappointed...
Thank you again, Dr. Mogel, for sharing such sage advice -- with humor and compassion. This is truly a delightful read, from start to finish, and as with her first volume, I'll be consulting it frequently -- and recommending to all parents of teens... It's filled with marvelous relevant real-life examples, mixed with Talmudic wisdom and illuminating metaphors that make you realize you are not alone on this parenting journey, with all its trials and tribulations... Dr. Mogel offers sane, level-headed approaches to navigating the teen years, when all societal forces seem to be working against you... Especially as a single parent, I felt like Dr. Mogel is a valued ally... Her credentials are sound, having studied not only psychology, child development, and pertinent Judaic teachings, but also having successfully raised two teen daughters herself -- and, despite all her grounding and training, finding herself as bewildered by these strange rude creatures as most of us who are even less professionally prepared for the onslaught of adolescence... A common refrain among parents these days is, "We would have never gotten away with that behavior when we were that age" -- which is true... But times have changed, and we need new rules, guidelines, parameters, approaches -- that are neither too permissive nor too authoritarian... We're up against ubiquitious videogames (and other "inappropriate" time-wasting entertainment), increasing academic pressures, and a scary economic outlook, not to mention a slew of temptations and dangers that weren't around when we were kids ... Dr.
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