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Posted October 11, 2003 

Your Anxious Child:
Raising a Healthy Child in a Frightening World

Tapestry Press: 2003
By Dr. Mary Ann Shaw

Reviewed by Loi Eberle, M.A.

Dr. Mary Ann Shaw, a licensed psychologist, has been helping parents and their children since 1959, serving in various hospital and university settings. The book was first published in 1995, then updated in 2003, to reflect “our post-9/11 world,” which has “become an increasingly frightening place to raise children.” Dr. Shaw wrote this book to help parents with children up to age fourteen, suggesting that “the earlier parents begin to recognize and address anxiety problems in their children, the better.” She also points out that “it’s important to understand that parents’ behavior does have significant and lasting effects on children,” and writes the book “to help parents recognize and understand their own anxiety as well as their children’s.” Her goal is to “teach parents how to focus on their children in a positive way.”

She draws upon her extensive experience dealing with children, offering tools for working with a child’s temperament and anxiety, and learning how to distinguish between the two. She explains that anxiety in children has been “underrecognized and undertreated in the medical community, in part because parents don’t immediately seek help for “internalizing” problems such as anxiety.” She lists the signs and symptoms of anxiety and physical conditions that are either mistaken for, caused by, or exacerbated by anxiety. She gives many suggestions for ways parents can help their anxious child, both in commonplace situations like school, as well as when more intense issues arise such as upsetting media coverage of crime and terrorism, or a family divorce. This book offers a brief overview of a very wide range of diagnoses, complications, and specific coping skills that relate to the general area of anxiety in children and young adolescents that is based on Dr. Shaw’s many years of experience with this population.

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