on February 4, 2009
As a mother of 3 and psychotherapist who works with school-age clients, I am very pleased to have found this invaluable resource. This book manages to not only to describe and explain a great number of issues and their causes, but to give creative and practical approaches to dealing with them.
I have a bookshelf heavy with books specifically on anxiety, bullying, panic attacks - but this book has somehow managed to pull wisdom on this wide spectrum together in an organized and accessible fashion. The exercises include controlled breathing and imagery in addition to ways to talk to your child about the problem. It's so important to recognize the mind body connection in anxiety issues and this is at the heart of the book.
It also recognizes the importance of nutrition in the equation. Who knew bananas may help reduce anxiety? I didn't!
Another gem - making a little album of successful people who overcame the same challenges your child is facing. My dyslexic daughter found doing this a real eye opener.
I rarely take the time to recommend books online - but this had to be an exception, as I have truly found it to be an absolute gem.
Take a look inside - but just briefly the book covers helping children cope with anxiety, separation, bullying, phobias, panic attacks, homework, tests, fitting in, perfectionism, building self-esteem, conflict at home, learning and physical challenges.
on December 3, 2008
The author has some great advice on behavioral modifications, adaptions and importance of nutrition and rest. Unfortunately, she doesn't question the basic premise of school structure. Homework has tripled for most ages since 1981, school days have lengthened, and lunch periods are often reduced to only 20 minutes. Is it really necessary for us to CREATE this much stress for our kids in the first place? Is there no one wondering if this stress is optimal? Performance is not increasing and there is growing evidence that over burdening our children has an inverse correlation to performance. Kids burn out and lose the love of learning. They gobble lunches and aren't mindful of what they eat, leading to obesity. Homework loads reduce the amount of time for play and physical activities, also increasing obesity. The increase in "on task" time reduces the time needed for consolidation and also impedes learning.
on July 15, 2008
This book is a must read for parents, teachers, and counselors. So many children suffer from school anxiety and this book is a great resource for anyone who works with or lives with school-aged children. The fears and frustrations surrounding school anxiety can be very intense. The book offers easy-to-follow explanations about anxiety, how it can devastate children, and how to conquer it. It provides solutions for parents whose children are being bullied, who are afraid of test-taking, who are overwhelmed with homework, or afraid of failing in school. As a counselsor of children, I am already applying the techniques with my clients! It's terrific. Finally, someone has put a name to this pervasive problem!
on February 24, 2009
I am a mother of two young children, ages 5 and 7. While they are relatively well-adapted to their school experiences, I wanted to learn more about the issues of anxiety, self-esteem and bullying before they are a presence in our lives. Ms. Mayer's book did an excellent and well-organized job of presenting the problems that children have and how to approach these issues. Her focused and thoughful style has helped me understand these school issues and I believe, given me better strategies for confronting school challenges!
on September 2, 2008
At last! A book that delivers what its title promises! This is a lucid, extremely well-organized book that parents and counselors will likely find useful in helping children cope with school-related anxieties. Although each chapter provides informative reading, I found the last 5 or so chapters most instructive and interesting. So much of what we can do to help our children often involves little more than a bit of care and thoughtfulness in approach. The author of this book makes that abundantly clear by focusing on simple belly-breathing exercises, "let go and flow" technique, healthful eating and daily exercise, and even alternative (but not far-fetched) medical treatments. This book is a must for any parent or counselor who seeks to help children live up to their academic potential despite psychological challenges, all the while understanding--in the matter-of-fact way of a seasoned professional--that these sorts of "problems" are rather common but certainly need not be debilitating.
on February 6, 2011
Remarkably well written, and with the average parent in mind comprising her primary readership, Diane Peters Mayer presents a superb `primer' concerning an oft described (but usually poorly interpreted) familiar topic of general interest to many (if not all ?) parents. Of likely benefit also to those working with children in schools of various kinds, training centres, and community-support networks, this one volume affords a fuller grasp as we have seen of school-related anxieties, in the form of easy-to-read case study vignettes with interpretive discourse, accompanied by practical exercises for simple implementation in relieving them. Perhaps lacking in clear evidence for most of her claims with regards the clinical or physiological literature alluded to (references remain uncited, although the author does provide a `Resources' section which lists several relevant books and websites), we would have liked to see a `sources' section included for the more research-oriented reader to explore the facts as stated, for themselves.
Following an initial introductory section concerned with definitions and characterizations of a wide range of anxiety-related symptoms and contexts (being careful to distinguish anxiety from fear or stress per se), the best possible start introduces the reader to `anxiety' as an experience not necessarily to be avoided (i.e., as `bad'), but as a phenomenon to be managed throughout the ontological development of every child's personal growth (from day 1 at kindergarten through high school). The following chapters 3-13 each deal with a different specific manifestation of anxiety-provoking experiences common to children of school ages, including separation anxiety, worry, novel situation avoidance, homework and examination anxieties, perfectionism, self-esteem management, bullying, and parent-intrafamily conflicts. We imagine that many parents will wish to focus upon only one or two of these chapters as may be most relevant to their own child(ren)'s anxiety symptoms once identified, but for professionals working with life-skill enhancement training programs and psychometric assessment caseloads, reading Peters Mayer cover-to-cover will (we believe), reveal much of significance for use in the parenting consultancy clinic also. Each of the 10 middle chapters first outlines the relevant target anxiety-related expression symptomologies (with variations and partial-differential diagnosis, DSM-IV refs, etc.), followed by aetiology cosiderations, occurrence frequency data, exercise and `treatment' recommendations, symptom management procedures and some excellent checklists. These are each presented as `stand-alone' readable chapters (we in particular enjoyed the chapters concerned with Bullying (Ch.12) and Parental and Family Conflict (Ch.13 ) and, with ready reference to the many `common' solutions to be found in the later chapters 14-19, which introduce and discuss the author's own preferred `ready for use' techniques for managing anxiety, with parent(s) and child working together to experience the benefits of belly-breathing, visualization, and a variety of other physical activity-based distractions.
Although not explicitly stated, one recurrent theme extractable throughout this book (at least from the view of the current reviewers), is the author's hinting that the key to anxiety reduction lays in its management, rather than its avoidance or annihilation. Indeed, as she does later state towards the conclusion of her book (correctly in our view): "If a deep belief exists that the symptoms of anxiety [and not simply their deliberate expression*] in all their disturbing manifestations are harmless [and not life-threatening*], then it does not matter where or when they strike, anxiety and panic will decline and lose their power" (p.170, *square bracket text indicates additional reviewer commentary). Initially reminiscent of the psychodynamics of the early 1970s and 1980s, this book offers much more than the usual fare of that nature, with extensive discussion of a range of different anxiety management strategy(ies) and practical advice for immediate home-based implementation(s), with appropriate cautions also being sounded with regards the use of either psychotropic medications, or other `alternative' forms of therapy which parents may be considering to expose their anxious child(ren) to. A final take-home (do-at-home ?) message recurrent in the text, is for parents to consider the possibility that their child(ren) might be `learning' at least some of their anxiety-related expressions/behaviours from their observations of other family members as they may have exhibited them in stressful situations (and especially those of their own parents). Peters Mayer repeatedly states that the exercises which she proposes be conducted by both parent and child together (and of this part the current reviewers are particularly supportive), with parents remaining willing to model the very behaviours they might wish to engender in their new, and increasingly less-anxious children, as they also grow toward a more mature, and relatively stress-free, adulthood experience.
Dr. Tony Dickinson & Lucillal Lau
Academic Research Laboratory, Worldwide Psychometric Solutions.
on August 26, 2008
Diane Mayer's book, Overcoming School Anxiety, should be on every parenting how-to book shelf, right next to Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care. With insight and compassion, Ms. Mayer guides us through our child's daunting school world; and with clarity and wisdom, she teaches us how to calmly and perceptively lead our child to success, self-confidence, and self-esteem. This book is more than its name implies--each of us, child and adult alike, reacts physically and mentally to stress of everyday life. Ms. Mayer identifies those stressful triggers and teaches parents and children to employ common-sense coping mechanisms for better lives in school and out. Health care professionals and educators--add this book to your Reading Musts for Parents! As a mother of two, I find this book indispensable.