A psychologist explains how cognitive behavioral therapy offers simple tools to assist parents in dealing with their children’s anxieties.
Donna Pincus (director, Child and Adolescent Fear and Anxiety Treatment Program, Boston University; coauthor, Mastery of Anxiety and Panic for Adolescents Riding the Wave, 2008, etc.) describes exciting new techniques for dealing with anxiety, the “number one mental health disorder, [which affects] more than 18 million [American] adults and perhaps as many as one in five children.” She provides anecdotal evidence from her clinical experience and supportive research showing that simple interventions by parents (with or without guidance from a therapist) can be effective within an extremely short time frame. Her hopeful message to parents is that they, “not therapy, not prescription medications—can be the key ingredients in how successfully a child or adolescent begins to approach the world with greater joy and confidence.” The author provides a clear, easy-to-follow guide that will enable parents to deal with their children’s problems—e.g., the inability to make friends, fear of school, separation anxiety and obsessive worries. These include tried-and-true practices such as establishing daily bedtime and waking-up routines and leaving space for relaxation after finishing homework. Setting aside a regularly scheduled special play period for as little as five minutes a day, when a mother or father engages in pleasurable, nondemanding play with a disturbed child, has been shown in research studies to be effective. Another tool is the bravery ladder. Here the parent and child break down a fearful activity into a number of manageable small steps. As the child accomplishes each step, he or she is rewarded with praise, with planned celebrations following at suitable intervals.
A valuable guide with useful tips for every parent.