Friday, September 18, 2009

Overcoming School Anxiety by Diane Peters Mayer

 I think is an important book to read through if you have children in school.  Even if they are in pre-school, even if you don't think they are having anxiety. At some point, over the course of the 12+ years of school, your child will most likely experience anxiety over something.  This book is a great resource of knowledge on ways of tackling this!

Every year, more than 68 million students of every age find themselves worrying excessively about their first day of school, even before it begins. Their hearts race, their stomachs turn, and their palms sweat just thinking about getting on the school bus for the first time, that first pop quiz, or that notoriously strict teacher. For parents of these children, nothing can be more upsetting than dropping their kids off on the first day of school, wondering how they will cope. Now, they can stop worrying and start helping. As a seasoned psychotherapist, Diane Peters Mayer has successfully treated hundreds of elementary school students suffering from this common disorder. In Overcoming School Anxiety, she shows parents how to deal with a wide variety of problems, from test and homework anxiety, to bullying, and fear of speaking up in class. Mayer also offers easy-to-learn techniques for children including breathing and relaxation exercises, focusing techniques, and tips on proper diet and exercise that help relieve stress. Filled with real-life examples as well as proven advice for working with teachers, principals, and counselors, this is the only comprehensive guide that will enable every parent to help a child cope, build confidence, and succeed in school.

Overcoming School Anxiety: How to Help Your Child Deal With Separation, Tests, Homework, Bullies, Math Phobia, and Other Worries is a very easy to read book. For one thing, this is not the kind of book you have to read from cover to cover.  You can check out the table of contents, flip to the section you need help in.  Now of course, I'd recommend when you have the time to read the book from front to back, it is great to have the knowledge to handle this.

When I was first asked to review this book, I was really excited about it.  I actually wished I had had it about 4 years ago, maybe even longer.  My oldest, currently in 7th grade always struggled with academics.  Especially reading, which led to test taking issues as well.  4 years ago though, she started getting bullied by a group of boys.  It caused major anxiety for her.  It wasn't a typical bullying if you think about it.  It wasn't some nasty girls being mean to her.  She dealth with that kind of stuff, no problem. She had a group of boys, that were bigger then pick on her for 3 straight years.  It was awful!  I think we handled it well, she ended up being a stronger person for it.  She also, luckily has extremely high self esteem.  However, we did go through a good 2 years of her throwing up at least 3 times a week, and her begging not to school.  The last year of the bullying, wasn't as bad thankfully.  The school had been working on taking actions over the years, and we finally had some solutions by 5th grade.  For 6th grade, they were able to get the ring leader into a special school for troubled kids. Once he was out of the picture, the other kids don't bother her any more, so 6th grade was one of the first years without major anxiety.

Now my 3rd grader is very shy.  I'm starting to see that we might be having issues with anxiety.  I'm hoping it doesn't happen, but I'm keeping an eye on things to help her out if it does.

Right before the first chapter starts, there is a page that tells you how to use the book.  The author recommends, reading through the table of contents first, get to know what is inside the book.  Then zero in on your childs problem and read that specific chapter.

It is also recommended to keep a Overcoming School Anxiety Journal to keep track of the steps you take.  One thing I really love is that she mentions you can show your child their progress.  Such a great tool to have!

I really love this book.  Like I said, if you have kids in school, think about reading this book.  You can of course buy it Amazon, but if it isn't something you want to purchase, check it out from the library.  A lot of times, books like this I can get for free from the library.  If I just really love the book and think it will be a valuable resource over years, then I pick it up from Amazon. 

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