Wednesday 10 July 2019

Anxious Kids - Book Review

**** Please note that I do not receive commissions of any kind for this review, it is simply a book that we have found to be very useful. ****

About a month ago I was browsing the book section of one of local department stores and I came across a book titled "Anxious Kids. How children can turn their anxiety into resilience."

O has always struggled with anxiety from a very young age and we are always on the lookout for new strategies to use to assist her to self manage her anxiety, so I just had to buy the book.

Anxious Kids is written by best selling parent author Michael Grose and well being expert Dr Jodi Richardson.

Now usually when I read books, I really don't like when the pages are dog eared to mark the spot, however on this occasion, I've made dog ears and little connotations all through the book.

Anxious Kids is sectioned into specific topics, all relating to anxiety of course, but each provides different details are the aspects of anxiety and strategies that can be used to manage anxiety. 

Anxious Kids explains just how common anxiety in children (and adults) really is. One of the common themes throughout the book that I loved was that the authors regularly remind the reader that to be anxious, is to be human. Everyone at some point in time has experienced anxiety. Anxiety is so common that 1 in 4 adults will experience an anxiety disorder and of those, half will experience their first symptom of anxiety by the time that they are fifteen years old.

The authors also reassure the reader that they're not alone on this journey with their children. Many parents around the world are dealing with anxious children. In Australia, 1 in 7 children are diagnosed with a mental illness and of those, half are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. That's a big number.

Throughout Anxious Kids there are stories about the authors as well as about children that the authors have assisted through their work.

The book goes into detail about what anxiety is, what part of the brain causes it, why anxiety occurs and how anxiety can be recognised in children. Throughout the book, the authors explain just why anxiety in children is, at times, incredibly difficult to recognise. From experience with O's anxiety, I know that anxiety can manifest in many different ways. Because anxiety is an internal feeling (our sense of interoception) it can be difficult for children to describe how they are feeling, for parents to recognise and for medial professionals to diagnose. And as such, anxiety can be mistaken for a tummy bug or a respiratory illness or just a feeling of being unwell.

Another common theme throughout Anxious Kids is that anxiety is contagious. Not contagious in the sense that we can catch it if someone sneezes but contagious in a sense that if a child senses that their parents are anxious, this feeling will rub off on the child. And this is so very true. The authors also mention numerous times, that if we consciously practise calming strategies either in front of our children or with our children, our children are more likely to want to participate. Likewise if we remain calm when our children are anxious, we can bring a sense of calm to the situation.

The authors provide strategies that we as parents can use when talking with our children about anxiety - how to explain what anxiety is, questions that we can weave into conversations with our children and ways in which we can reassure that anxiety is perfectly normal.

The book lists the the common types of anxiety and provides extensive details about these can look like as well as what anxiety can look like at school.

Part Four of Anxious Kids provides various tools and strategies for managing anxiety as well as how to check in emotionally with how we and our children are travelling. The authors talk about mindfulness and the benefits it plays in managing anxious feelings, calming deep breathing techniques, how exercise can assist our children when anxious. The great thing about all of the strategies that the authors discuss is that they can also be used by adults who have anxiety.

Part Five goes into detail about life style factors that can reduce anxiety and Part six provides greater detail for managing significant anxiety issues. Part six also contains a chapter on how schools can assist students with anxiety. This is a section that all teachers should read.

All in all Anxious Kids is a great read and it is one that I will not only be referring to in future but also recommending to other parents. Anxious Kids offers its readers a new perspective on anxiety in children. It encourages the reader to view their child's anxiety as an opportunity to empower their children with the skills needed to not only manage their anxiety but also to thrive, despite their anxiety.

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