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Anxiety Relief for Kids

Anxiety Relief For Kids Summary

Anxiety Relief for Kids provides quick solutions based on evidence-based CBT and exposure therapy—two of the most effective treatments for anxiety disorders. You’ll find a background and explanation of the different types of anxiety disorders, in case you aren’t sure whether or not your child has one.

You’ll also learn to identify your child’s avoidant and safety behaviors—the strategies your child uses to cope with their anxiety, such as repeatedly checking their homework or asking the same questions repeatedly—as well as anxiety triggers that set your child off.

With this book, you’ll find a wealth of information regarding your child’s specific anxiety disorder and how to respond to it. For example, if your child has obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the skills you use to help them are different than other anxiety disorders. No matter your child’s specific symptoms or diagnosis, you’ll discover tailored interventions you can use now to help your child thrive.

If your child has an anxiety disorder, simple, everyday activities can be a real challenge. The practical solutions in this book will help you deal with your child’s anxiety when it happens and restore balance and order to both your lives.

What readers are saying:
“I was surprised to learn how much of what I was doing as a parent was exacerbating (and not helping) our son's anxiety.” — Kath

“This book does such a great job of explaining what anxiety is, the range of ways it can show up in kids (and/or adults), and how you can get it under control. … The guidance laid out is priceless and will be beneficial to anyone suffering from anxiety.” — Jennifer

“This is a very practical and informative book that will guide parents in helping their children suffering from anxiety or worry. … Cognitive behavioral therapy is the backbone of Dr. Walker's approach and she makes the approach clear and accessible to non-professionals. A great addition to any parent’s bookshelf!” — Michael

This book has been selected as an Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Self-Help Book Recommendation— an honor bestowed on outstanding self-help books that are consistent with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) principles and that incorporate scientifically tested strategies for overcoming mental health difficulties. Used alone or in conjunction with therapy, our books offer powerful tools readers can use to jump-start changes in their lives.

About the Author

Dr. Bridget Walker is a goal-oriented person who appreciates how important it is to enjoy life. After finishing her doctorate in clinical psychology and practicing general talk therapy for several years, she found herself wondering if and how she was helping her patients. Like many mental health professionals, she was trained in psychodynamic psychotherapy which concerns itself with uncovering unconscious wishes, fears, impulses, etc., and posits that childhood experiences and relationships with parents shape a person’s being and any psychopathology from which they suffer.

A pragmatist at heart, she didn’t see results in her patients that she had hoped for. She especially felt completely unable to help the many anxious patients who presented for treatment. Given that most children and adults come to therapy for anxiety problems, this was an unacceptable predicament. She sometimes felt like she was a paid source of support, rather than a professional who could truly help people overcome their anxiety.

Everything changed in Dr. Walker’s career when she learned about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She completed extensive re-training in CBT with a focus on anxiety disorders. For the past 15 years, she has helped hundreds of children and adults overcome distressing and debilitating anxiety disorders with CBT. CBT is the most researched psychotherapy modality in existence and is now backed by thousands of clinical trails proving its efficacy in treating individuals of all ages.

This pragmatist with a Ph.D. now felt that she could deliver powerfully effective treatment strategies to those who needed it. Years of practice helping anxious children and their family’s regain their lives have been gratifying beyond measure. The problem she now faced was a sense of responsibility to help the many children who receive no or inappropriate treatment for their anxiety problems.

Dr. Walker prides herself in staying abreast of the many advances in CBT that are achieved each year. Thousands of brilliant researchers work hard to enable CBT therapists to improve on what is already the gold standard of effective treatment of anxiety disorders.

Anxiety Relief for Kids teaches parents and children how to conquer anxiety using the most up-to-date evidence-based strategies of CBT available in a friendly, accessible manner.

When Dr. Walker isn’t helping anxious children and adults or writing about it, she focuses on raising her sons, trying to be a good partner to her husband of 27 years, being a good friend, and riding dressage competitively at the upper levels. Riding her horse, Ari and being in the company of her two dogs, Nico and Pippa is her therapy-keeps her happy, fit and satisfies her love of animals

Foreword writer Michael A. Tompkins, Ph.D., ABPP, is founding partner of the San Francisco Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy, Diplomate of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, and assistant clinical professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of five books, including OCD and Digging Out.

Anxiety Relief For Kids Introduction

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Educate Yourself and Your Child about Anxiety

If you picked up this book, you probably are concerned about your child’s well-being and may suspect that anxiety plays a role in your child’s suffering. Anxiety can be tough to detect because children who suffer from anxiety problems often do not seem overly anxious or fearful. Understanding how anxiety appears and how it operates will help you take the first steps toward helping your child.

Anxiety problems can show up in children in myriad ways. Many parents are baffled by the irrational and exaggerated nature of their child’s concerns: Why does Mark habitually believe he’s going to bomb his math test in spite of his stellar performances? Why does Tamika insist I reassure her that the doors are locked and the alarm is on even though she knows we live in a safe environment and practice reasonable security precautions every night?

How come Francis throws a fit when he can’t understand a new concept in science he logically can’t be expected to have down yet? Why does Allegra tell me on a daily basis that kids think she’s not very smart or funny when she is one of the more popular children in her class?

Essentially: Why doesn’t my child understand the reason? Why doesn’t she realize that nothing as bad as she predicts ever happens? In other words, why doesn’t he learn that his fears are unfounded or greatly exaggerated? I will do my best to answer these questions in this book.

It can be heartbreaking to watch your child struggle with worries that interfere with her activities. Anxiety problems exact tremendous costs on both the sufferer and his or her loved ones—navigating daily life can be exhausting, contentious, and stressful. In this book, I tell you what you need to know about anxiety and how to take concrete steps to help your child conquer his or her anxiety.

The Nature of Anxiety

Many scientists believe anxiety disorders are caused not by the mere presence of fear, but by attempts to escape or control the uncomfortable sensations and thoughts that accompany anxiety—such as a rapid heartbeat or unwanted recurrent thoughts (Forsyth, Eifert, and Barrios 2006). These tactics are referred to as “avoidance and safety behaviors”—and in the case of obsessive-compulsive disorder, “rituals”—and they typically give anxious individuals short-term relief from anxiety-related distress.

The problem is that reliance on these behaviors fuels anxiety over the long term and prevents children from learning that their expectations of dire consequences aren’t accurate. This pattern keeps your child trapped in the clutches of anxiety.

Attempts to avoid, suppress, or escape discomfort are often what the parents or teachers of an anxious child notice first. Anxiety can appear as overt worry or fear, accompanied by clear physical signs such as hyperventilation, shaking, and terror. It also often appears as shyness, sensitivity, clinginess, rigidity, quirkiness, oppositionality, low self-confidence, pessimism, indecision, procrastination, and anger. As you can see from table 1, most signs of anxiety are not so obvious.

Although the signs may differ, the basic nature of anxiety is the same. Deep down, an anxious child fears being in a particular situation he or she believes will result in a negative consequence. The source of your child’s anxiety may not be obvious to you now, but as you read this book, you will learn how to pinpoint what your child fears.

For example, Tom fears going to soccer practice, where he worries an unleashed dog might bite him. His symptoms include a nervous stomach and nausea before practice, and he consistently tells his parents that he just doesn’t feel well enough to go. Alicia fears taking tests at school because she worries about getting a less-than-perfect grade. Her symptoms are less obvious than Tom’s: she avoids raising her hand in class, in case she gives a wrong answer, and she refuses to participate in any after-school activities that might prevent her from studying.

As a parent, you may observe less obvious signs of avoidance, suppression, and escape behaviors rather than overt anxiety. The important thing to remember is that the underlying nature of anxiety is the same, regardless of how you see it affecting your child, and you will follow the same program to help him or her.

Table 1. Signs of Anxiety

Visible Signs of Anxiety

Physical distress (shaking, crying, hyperventilating, screaming)

Fleeing, escaping

Outright statements of anxiety (“I’m afraid the house will burn down tonight while I’m asleep.”)

Outright questions expressing fears (“What if you get in a car accident when you go out?”)

Refusal to engage in activities that cause distress

Extreme distress upon contact with a feared object (dogs, birds, planes, extreme weather)

Refusal to be alone or without a parent     

Less Obvious Signs of Anxiety

Clingy behavior


Avoidance behavior

Complaints of physical illness

Reassurance-seeking behavior

Argumentative behavior

Reluctance to try new things (activities, foods, places, routines)

Extreme shyness, sensitivity

Being easily distracted

Slowness (relative to others of the same age), procrastination

Overly cautious behavior, indecision

Exacting standards

Sleep difficulties (refusal to sleep alone, go on sleepovers)

Physical aggression

Threats of suicide to avoid anxiety-producing situations     

Anxiety Disorders Are Common in Children

Anxiety disorders are the most common type of psychological problem children experience; one in eight children suffers from a significant anxiety disorder (Anxiety and Depression Association of America 2016). This means that in an average class of school-aged children, three will suffer from some type of anxiety symptoms that cause significant distress, interfere with their ability to engage in typical activities or both.

Symptoms can emerge in children as young as four or five, although you may notice symptoms even earlier. Because anxiety can show itself in less-than-obvious ways, many parents are unaware that anxiety is at the root of their child’s symptoms or behaviors. As a result, the parents and even a pediatrician or mental health professional may dismiss the symptoms as “developmentally normal” or “just a stage.”

They may think a child is just shy or overtired or has an attention deficit disorder. Because a young child can’t clarify what is happening and because many mental health professionals are not adequately trained to assess and treat anxiety disorders, it may be years before a correct diagnosis is made and a helpful treatment is found.

Even though parents may not be able to recognize that a child is suffering from anxiety, in my experience, they know their child and know when something feels wrong. My advice is to trust your instincts. If you suspect your child’s anxiety adversely affects his or her day-to-day activities, please use this book as a resource and a guide. I will show you how to take concrete steps to improve your child’s life.

The Effects of Anxiety

For starters, is anxiety such a bad thing?

In actuality, some degree of anxiety is a normal part of any healthy person’s life. Mother Nature equipped us with the fight-or-flight response to help us protect ourselves in dangerous situations. We have a choice between facing a threat if we think we can overcome it, or fleeing from it, if we are afraid we can’t win. In that case, acting out of fear, in the interest of safety, is a legitimate option.

Anxiety can also prove helpful by heightening our performance. All other things being equal, fear of coming in last or losing a game can drive an athlete to perform better than will a less-motivated competitor. Similarly, a student who is a little worried can perform better on a standardized test at school than can a student who couldn’t care less about the results.

Often, however, anxiety can grow to the point where, instead of serving us, it becomes harmful to our well-being. This is true of adults as well as children. Not surprisingly, many adults with anxiety problems have endured symptoms since childhood.

Anxiety is considered unhealthy if it keeps a child from living a normal life at home, with friends, and at school. Your child may avoid situations—such as going to public bathrooms, speaking up in class, or being near animals—that spark anxious feelings. Doing this over time tends to increase those fears and eventually impedes healthy psychosocial development and quality of life. Because anxiety symptoms can be masked, children with anxiety disorders often function well in terms of grades, achievement, and more, yet live a tortured internal life rife with worry, fear, or excessive guilt, or feelings of responsibility.

Over time, high levels of distress and anxiety are mentally and physically exhausting and demoralizing, and a child can become depressed and hopeless about the relentless nature of severe anxiety. In fact, a large body of research tells us that untreated anxiety disorders markedly compromise the quality of life and psychosocial functioning of sufferers (Mendlowicz and Stein 2000; Olatunji, Cisler, and Tolin 2007).

Why It Is Important to Help Your Child Now

Research tells us that if we don’t adequately treat children with anxiety disorders, they are more likely to develop other mental illnesses in adulthood, such as depression and substance abuse (Kessler et al. 2005). Furthermore, studies indicate that most anxiety symptoms are chronic; children usually do not simply grow out of them. Unfortunately, the tendency for anxiety to come and go leads parents to believe it will eventually go away once and for all, and so they are disinclined to seek treatment for their child.

Another important reason to help your child conquer anxiety is to prevent it from seemingly becoming integrated into his or her personality. Anxiety is not a personality trait or style and does not define a person. Personality does not change much over a lifespan, but anxiety symptoms can and do. Not only are anxiety disorders the most common mental health issue, but they are also one of the most treatable. I have seen countless children and adults transform when their anxiety is treated effectively with CBT.

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Anxiety Relief for Kids

Anxiety Relief for Kids PDF

Product details:

EditionInternational Edition
Posted onNovember 1, 2017
Page Count218 pages
AuthorBridget Flynn Walker, Michael A. Tompkins

Anxiety Relief For Kids PDF Free Download - HUB PDF

Anxiety Relief for Kids provides quick solutions based on evidence-based CBT and exposure therapy—two of the most effective treatments for anxiety disorders. You’ll find a background and explanation of the different types of anxiety disorders, in case you aren’t sure whether or not your child has one.


Author: Bridget Flynn Walker, Michael A. Tompkins

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