Par­ent­ing Jew­ish Teens: A Guide for the Perplexed

Joanne Doad­es
  • Review
By – December 16, 2011
Joanne Doades’s humor­ous twist on the title of Mai­monides’ 12th cen­tu­ry phi­los­o­phy book, A Guide for the Per­plexed, was reas­sur­ing to me — a typ­i­cal, lov­ing but anx­ious Jew­ish mom of three teens. In short, read­able chap­ters, Doad­es presents the chal­lenges inher­ent in rais­ing teens today. She uses both per­son­al anec­dotes and Jew­ish wis­dom, includ­ing the con­flicts in rela­tion­ships from the ancient sto­ries in the Bible as well as rab­binic teach­ings. Doad­es brings out the beau­ty in tra­di­tion­al rit­u­als and their impor­tance in help­ing to main­tain a warm and func­tion­al fam­i­ly home. She doesn’t claim to offer mir­a­cle cures to resolve par­ent­ing issues but pro­motes open com­mu­ni­ca­tion, work­shops, and sup­port groups. Par­ent­ing is a work in progress and par­ents must learn and grow on the job as they help their chil­dren move to inde­pen­dence and adult­hood. There is a short appen­dix with resources for spe­cial needs fam­i­ly sit­u­a­tions. I believe that Doades’s bot­tom­line par­ent­ing mes­sage is hinei­ni” (“here I am”), that the most impor­tant feel­ing every par­ent should impart to his child is that he is always avail­able to that child.
Miri­am Brad­man Abra­hams is a Cuban-born, Brook­lyn-raised, Long Island-resid­ing mom. She is Hadas­sah Nas­sau’s One Region One Book chair­la­dy, a free­lance essay­ist, and a cer­ti­fied yoga instruc­tor who has loved review­ing books for the JBC for the past ten years.

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