I bought copies of this book for both myself and my daughter. I hope that she will read it, because she needs this sort of guidance.
I especially like the parts of the book that discuss the different “voices” each of us hears inside our own minds. (Obviously I’m not referring to schizophrenia, which is beyond the scope of this book.) I actually think the author could expand on this tip-off and go into greater detail, because too many of us struggle with these inner voices. It’s hard, maybe too hard, to know which is the authentic self, the inner voice that wants each of us to succeed. Particularly for those who have grown up in homes filled with conflict—especially with parents prone to lashing out verbally because they lack self-control. The damage done to young minds by the voices that speak scornfully, rather than in hopeful and helpful ways, can be frightening and even devastating. This book helps discern those inner voices.
I also like the author’s tone throughout most of the book. She sounds sincere, not condescending and not as though everything is just so easy if you just do this or that. There are, however, some parts of the book that either were not realistic-sounding or did not acknowledge the serious difficulties some teens face in enough detail. It’s still a very helpful book, though many teens will not be able to use the advice. (If you’re living in a homeless shelter, or in foster homes, life is that much harder.)
There are lots of topics that will make for good discussion with a teen who will talk to you. I especially liked the parts about how even very young children take responsibility for their safety, by staying close to caretakers, watching to make sure their caretakers are close by, etc. It made me see preschoolers holding onto mommy’s hand or skirt in a different way. It’s true. Our children are more active in keeping themselves safe than I had previously thought.
I liked this book. I hope my daughter will read it.
"I Want To Be Me But I Don't Know Who I Am" were the words uttered by a young teen who was struggling with choices. Our teens and young adults are having a difficult time finding their path to adulthood.
This book introduces a sound approach to helping them, originally developed by a French psychiatrist, Françoise Dolto, MD, who understood that children of all ages can become aware of themselves, choose behaviors that work for them, take responsibility for their actions, feel confident about their goals, empowered as individuals, and respected as autonomous persons.
Doctor Dolto insisted that even infants need an authentic relationship with caretakers, that they need to hear the truth of their situation, even if it is difficult. She believed and demonstrated that even infants have the power and the will to grow, to be healthy, to assume responsibility for their life. With this approach, she enjoined adolescents to find the resources they had within themselves to become their own best leaders, while recognizing that they need support and encouragement to manage their growth into adults.
In her clinical work and in this volume, Doctor Boskovitz engages adolescent readers in a gentle but very direct and straight-forward, authentic manner, as she guides them towards awareness of their own power to manage their behavior and make healthy choices that move them towards autonomy and independence.
This book's author endorses the right of every human being to respect and to seeking a good life; it encourages adolescents to seek to attain personal goals that they find worthy of their efforts. They are promised that if they work their way through the guide book, they can learn to understand themselves and their behavior, discover their strengths, develop new life skills, identify and choose their direction, get help, and overcome obstacles.
To help in this developmental work, Dr. Boskovitz designed the Identity and Behavior Scales, to promote greater self-awareness in adolescents. These measures can also assist in identifying their wishes for the future, and in setting short and long-term goals. Readers are also guided through their decision-making process with the carefully demonstrated use of Decision Trees. They can use the trees to review previous decisions and their outcomes and to evaluate their current challenges and choices. The decision trees are also extremely useful in making lifestyle decisions and anticipating their compatibility with the teens and young adults' needs and goals.
I Want To Be Me But I Don't Know Who I Am is an easy read, even for those who don't like to read! The larger print is welcoming and the book is dotted with numerous inserts to illustrate points being made. The book is written at the 7th grade level and addresses all teens and young adults, regardless of their level of sophistication.
About the Author
Madeleine Boskovitz, PhD, is a psychologist with years of experience with youngsters and teenagers in public schools, in inner cities and in outlying, underserved rural areas, and teen shelters. In addition, Dr. Boskovitz has much experience teaching junior college, undergraduate, and graduate students who needed much support in managing their life decisions. In each of these settings, she has found younger and older teens yearning to understand themselves, to feel empowered to manage their behavior, and eager to follow their dreams. In 1979, Dr. Boskovitz discovered the pioneering work of French Psychiatrist, Francoise Dolto, who promoted a respectful and authentic acknowledgement of the dignity and separateness of the "other," at any age. Dr. Dolto's work eventually inspired Madeleine to engage in formal studies in psychology. Her extensive doctoral research focused on adolescent development and difficult behaviors. Her dissertation, titled: Demographic, Experiential, and Developmental Correlates of Adolescent Self-Destructive Behavior, led her to demonstrate how much the inner and outer environment impacts identity development and behavior. She obtained her PhD in Counseling Psychology in 2000. In her Houston, Texas, practice, Dr. Boskovitz practices from a psychodynamic understanding of development. She promotes a healthy separation between parents and their children, of any age, so that two exciting developments can take place. The first is that children can begin to assume their own shape and begin to take responsibility for their behavior and their consequences. At the same time, parents who keep a healthy distance from their children feel more adequate as parents and can then offer their children the right amount of presence and support for their choices and endeavors as these grow throughout their life. From her developmental approach, Dr. Boskovitz assists teens and young adults in recognizing their strengths and using them to promote changes in those areas that are more difficult for her clients. Most of the time, these changes revolve around Identity development and lifestyle choices. She helps young people learn the skills illustrated in her book: improve emotional balance and manage behavior, learn self-soothing skills, recognize their own needs and assert themselves appropriately in social situations. Finally, she helps her clients become empowered to be who they are and want to become.