I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Health Communications on September 3, 2013
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With anxiety at epidemic levels among our children, "Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents" offers a contrarian yet effective approach to help children and teens push through their fears, worries, and phobias to ultimately become more resilient, independent, and happy.
How do you manage a child who gets stomachaches every school morning, who refuses after-school activities, or who is trapped in the bathroom with compulsive washing? Children like these put a palpable strain on frustrated, helpless parents and teachers. And there is no escaping the problem: One in every five kids suffers from a diagnosable anxiety disorder. Unfortunately, when parents or professionals offer help in traditional ways, they unknowingly reinforce a child's worry and avoidance. From their success with hundreds of organizations, schools, and families, Reid Wilson, PhD, and Lynn Lyons, LICSW, share their unconventional approach of stepping into uncertainty in a way that is currently unfamiliar but infinitely successful. Using current research and contemporary examples, the book exposes the most common anxiety-enhancing patterns including reassurance, accommodation, avoidance, and poor problem solving and offers a concrete plan with 7 key principles that foster change. And, since new research reveals how anxious parents typically make for anxious children, the book offers exercises and techniques to change both the children's "and" the parental patterns of thinking and behaving.
This book challenges our basic instincts about how to help fearful kids and will serve as the antidote for an anxious nation of kids and their parents.
I had a lot of difficulties with this one. See, with a title that mentions anxious parents I was hoping that it also covered topics on how to deal with my anxiety so it doesn’t affect my kids. Unfortunately, from what I’ve read so far that is not the case. This book is targeted at helping parents deal with anxiety in the children and in helping them to overcome that anxiety so they can be more independent. And there’s nothing wrong with that, it just wasn’t what I was expecting!
The activities in this book are engaging, and written in a way that makes it easy to see how you can fit that into your own life and how you can work on that with your children. There is also the note that unless you are willing to make the change, and really want to make the change, then nothing will actually change, which I think is important to note. Changing learned behaviour is one of the most difficult things to do, take a look at how hard it is to stop a bad habit. Now, what if that bad habit comforted you, or made you feel safe? Yeah, not so easy to try to stop that habit now, is it? But in order to break that cycle of worry that is exactly what parents and children are asked to do.
I’ve spent a lot of time waffling with this book. I don’t think it affects me, and my children are surprisingly confident without a hint of anxiety. But is that because I’m stuck in a worry cycle? I don’t know, but it’s something I’ll be thinking on. On the other hand, if your own children are anxious, this is definitely the book for you. The writing isn’t overly dry, and it’s full of engaging and interesting case studies that show examples of how the techniques have worked in the past, and is accessible for readers. I won’t say this is an enjoyable book (it’s not) but it’s full of information that could help you deal with anxiety, understand what causes it, and hopefully help your family improve.