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Worried All the Time : Overparenting in an Age of Anxiety and How to Stop It Hardcover – May 5, 2003

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Psychologist David Anderegg has written a fascinating book about the worries that wake parents up at night. His confrontational premise is, "Worry reveals very much about the parent and very little about the child." Rather than view a child through the prism of a parent's anxiety, Anderegg focuses parents on their child's unique temperament. He surveys our culture and child-development literature, asking searching, nettlesome questions. For example, why do Americans feel so invaded by their own cultural products? Among his targets are parents who read too much and those who view their children's college acceptance as a parental final exam. Each chapter outlines how parents may be overreacting to issues such as school violence and offers insightful ideas for parents to try at home. Anderegg is at his best in a brilliant chapter about drugs. Here, he explores the unresolved authority issues of boomer parents who are grieving about their current "uncool" state. Although the subject of sexuality is curiously underplayed, Anderegg's prickly ideas and practical suggestions will gain this book a wide, well-deserved readership. --Barbara Mackoff

From Publishers Weekly

According to Anderegg, a child therapist and professor of psychology at Bennington College, parents of today are excessively concerned about their children. A number of factors-including an increase in older parents, smaller families and media hype surrounding topics like school violence-have contributed to this rise in parental anxiety. Drawing on psychoanalytic theory, Anderegg posits that some worrying about children comes from unresolved issues in the parents' own lives. He uses the research of cognitive-behavior therapists to point out that parental vigilance, while appropriate for infants, is difficult to turn off as a child becomes more independent. Focusing on some of the hot topics of parenting, such as daycare, drug use and how to ensure that children attend the right schools, he argues that such worry is misplaced and counterproductive for both parent and child. Instead of obsessively overseeing their children's activities or worrying about their accomplishments, Anderegg recommends parenting children within an atmosphere of moderate firmness, empathy and an understanding of an individual child's temperament. Although the author's advice is sensible, it will be of the most use to parents who have some familiarity with educational and psychological terminology.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; First Edition edition (May 5, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743225686
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743225687
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.9 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,177,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Considering that my youngest child just graduated from high school, it's too bad that Dr. Anderegg didn't write this book 15 years sooner! Nonetheless, his discussion of the emotional dynamics of the college application and college choice process was itself worth the price of admission. With that topic as well as others, Dr. Anderegg does a particularly good job of getting the reader to admit to sometimes acting on less than flattering motivations -- without feeling like a bad person! The payoff for these perhaps painful insights is that one pole of the emotional magnet that keeps many an inner conflict spinning can be thus be identified and - horray! -- turned off. His discussion of the three principles of good parenting - moderate firmness, empathy, and goodness of fit - was an enlightening roundup of theory and research, and enormously reassuring. Dr. Anderegg is especially skilled at distilling recent academic research -- for example, regarding drug use, school violence, adolescent sexual behavior, substitute child care -- and bringing that knowledge to bear on the day-to-day dilemmas and arguments that we all have with our kids, our spouses, and with ourselves. He does an especially good job of pointing out how a given statistic could be and often is interpreted to support opposing positions, and noting when the research data are firm and when the academic jury is still out. All of this is accomplished with a wonderful dry wit and a clear sense of fellowship with us parents.
I only wish I had had Dr. Anderegg whispering in my ear -- and felt his hand on my shoulder -- long before this as an antidote to the cultural messages screaming in my face through the media and the constant chattering of my fellow parents in the other ear.
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Format: Hardcover
I've already decided that, when my blond-haired, blue-eyed, most adorable five-year-old in the world hits 12 or so, she's going into a Carmelite nunnery. I mentioned this to a friend of mine a few days ago, who pshawed, "Oh, but you'll miss her!" to which I said, "Yeah, but I'll be able to talk to her through a screen!" There are days when I really mean this, but only on those days that end in 'y'.
I never really thought I was the only parent who felt this way, and now that I've read WORRIED ALL THE TIME, I know I'm not. In fact, if David Anderegg's reports are to be believed, I'm probably at the low end of the anxiety scale. Anderegg reports that one dad was concerned about his son's self-esteem because the lad told a joke at school and nobody laughed. Dad actually went to the teacher to see how this could be remedied. My advice would have been to encourage sonny boy to find better material, or a better audience, and faghettaboutit. And that basically is what Anderegg's advice was, in addition to gently telling the parent to butt out.
Anderegg has some interesting ideas and raises some interesting points. He looks at over-scheduling activities (what I call "Camp Runamuck"), daycare centers, school shootings, the influence of the media, and the potential for drug and alcohol use among children. His basic message can be condensed to "Lighten up, Mom and Dad." While WORRIED ALL THE TIME isn't a "Don't Worry, Be Happy" book, Anderegg's conclusion is that things aren't quite as bad as they seem to be.
Anderegg is a soothing voice of reason, and I have recommended this book to a couple of sets of parents already, just because of the issues it raises. Anderegg isn't totally convincing, but he does an excellent job of discerning issues of concern and discussing them.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wish all parents would read this book! Both they and their children would be happier if they did. I am an older adult whose children are grown, and I see my younger friends with children making life much harder for themselves than it needs to be. I am sorry the negative term "overparenting" is in the title, because I want to buy a whole bunch to give away but am concerned it could be seen as a criticism.(Couldn't it just be: "Worried all the Time: Being a Parent in an Age of Anxiety"?) However the content of the book itself is incredibly generous and reassuring to parents who just want the best for their kids. Nowhere have I seen such an interface between the personal aspects of childrearing and the specific challenges presented by today's society, such as drugs, TV and video games, school violence, etc. Anderegg cuts through all the confusion generated by the conflicting messages the media sends us every day and is clear about the ways parents can choose to make their lives--and their children's--easier and more satisfying. "Worried all the Time" is also a compelling read for those without immediate childrearing interests because of Anderegg's perspective on our current culture.
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By A Customer on June 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I felt like Anderegg was talking directly to me and all my friends and relatives. We have become so worried about every little decision, torturing ourselves over choosing the right school, choosing the right sports team, choosing the right pediatrician, not to mention whether our children are smart enough/athletic enough/social enough/successful enough to succeed in this terrifying world. Enough already! I'm ready to spend some time just enjoying my kids, and I really like the advice the author gives about how to take a deep breath, give our kids some sorely needed independence, and give ourselves a break!
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