Hello my beloved #Exvangelical family. It has been the longest day which I ended by watching Boy Erased, which was arguably a strange choice on my part and made me have a lot of feelings about my parents (it could be argued that's true of most things). But also it's Dobson night.
Which @Irish_Atheist did point out to me was not exactly self care and he was PROBABLY RIGHT but also I have no self preservation urge whatsoever when exhausted and I have to write final paper stuff for the next couple nights so we are doing this anyway.
We are also starting a new book which is... exciting? Is that what I'm looking for? Probably not but it'll do. The complete collection of threads on the biography of Dobson can be found here.

This week we are starting Preparing for Adolescence, which is a book that I actually got several requests to go through. So I am doing this because I love you. @ErikMKort and I actually read this a couple years ago, so we're revisiting. It is... probably worse than I remembered.
But nothing to be gained by putting it off (and I'm probably too tired to go too late) so let's dive in.
Ideally we are doing the introduction and first chapter tonight, let's see how all of this shakes out. The introduction is quite short.
The intro is called "Let's Huddle!"
You know what I always realize very quickly reading Christian books? How much I absolutely do not miss their terrible analogies for literally everything. Sigh. Okay. So Dobson would like us to pretend it is the night of the big football game.
Everyone is here and the team has been practicing for weeks. The coach is getting them ready to go out on the field and he "knows his last words will be vitally important and could even change the outcome of the game." I mean... is that true?
It literally says that 'there will be little chance to teach or guide once the game has begun.' Full disclosure here y'all. I have literally never in my life watched a football game. Even when I watched Friday Night Lights I kinda just looked at my computer during the football.
I am emphatically not a sports person. THAT SAID even I know that football has an absurd number of huddles in it, right? That's why the game takes so damn long? So like... probably you have MANY opportunities to guide and teach? I mean... whatever.
The point of this stupid analogy is that parents are like coaches. This ALSO doesn't make any sense. But apparently they've been drilling their children for years with the "fundamentals" which obviously include "proper spiritual attitudes and moral values."
And then they give him last words of encouragement and then "Junior runs onto the field." Okay, I have lost the fucking thread here, Dobson. What is the field? Like Junior is still living at home, right? We haven't sent him off to boarding school? Mom and dad are still involved?
Dobson says the message is if the parents have a child in preadolescence they basically need to capitalize on this time to really drill down on all that brainwashing in preparation. Beware: If you let this fleeting moment escape unnoticed, you may never get another opportunity."
NEVER? He is making adolescence sound very frightening indeed. Do kids stop being human during adolescence? Is he implying they might die? Why exactly might your kids never allow you to talk to them again unless you happen to be abusive asshats? Hard to say.
He points out that most people do remember being teenagers and remember how very hard it was. Self doubt and inferiority and all that awful vulnerability. There's a list, but the last one mentioned is "especially any form of rejection by members of the opposite sex."
Look, I DO remember my adolescence. And I know I'm a bisexual poly femby unicorn so maybe my feelings don't count because I don't exist here but ALSO I will say that rejection by the same sex was at LEAST as awful, if not more so. There were always more boys (in my mind).
But Dobson would like to chide all of us for not SHARING our memories and knowledge with children freely and more often. Because after all, if teenagers and preteens just knew about our experiences, they could learn from them and do better. They could follow our examples!
Look, I... sigh. There are people who learn from other people's examples. That does happen. But also experiential learning is a very real thing and often something teens really need. You really can't learn everything from someone else's mistakes, you need to make your own.
It is actually HEALTHY to make mistakes. It's good to learn how to do that and get back up again, try again. This is not something I excel at, it's very much not something I learned. One of the things about the evangelical view of life is that it views teen mistakes as awful.
They're all tied to rebellion and sin and instead of being seen as totally normal exploration and growth and shaped and moved along in healthy ways, they are often punished and forced back into line. Which (shockingly) usually shuts down communication and leads to worse things.
Ohhhhh we are going to talk so much about teenagers, y'all. I am a little excited for that part of this book.
ALSO can I say that I do work with teenagers and there is very little they are LESS interested in than hearing about how your experiences should inform their decisions.
Can you blame them? When you are going through a hard time, is it helpful to you when someone condescendingly explains that 'they were once in your position and this was what needed to be done?' YOU always are the expert on your own life. Teens are not an exception to this.
There does seem to be an indication in here that some of what he is talking about may just be letting them know that some of their experiences are normal. Obviously particularly with like body changes and stuff I think that is totally valid... but I suspect we still differ.
For example I suspect our versions of "normal" such as it is, are pretty different. Whatever. This is going to be such an important book, he assures us. The book that kids need. The one to answer all those concerns and questions. It will cover topics without flinching.
Topics including "masturbation, menstruation, sexual morality, parent-child conflict, drug abuse, conformity, and, most importantly, the 'canyon of inferiority.'" I love it when he makes his own made up thing the most important thing for us to cover. Self absorbed jackass.
Also at the end of it there will be an open discussion with teens where young people talked about all their hopes and fears and dreams and shit. So that'll be meaningful.
But for now the game is upon you and there is time to have these life or death last minute talks still!
He is confident you'll deal with this well and that "Knute Rockne would be proud of you." Apparently this person is a football coach who died in the... 30's? Hip reference there, Dobson. You are down with the kids.
Okay, so I am going to HALF take care of things and say you only get the introduction tonight. If I have time to do Chapter 1: The Secret of Self-Esteem tomorrow or sometime this week I will, otherwise we will tackle it next week. This should at least give you a taste.
Looking forward to this TERRIBLE JOURNEY with you, friends. Take care of yourselves, I love you very much.
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