by Educate and Empower Kids
I would trade sleepless nights and baby spit-up for school bullies and body-issues any day. As these oldest daughters have dealt with more complex issues I have looked to books, other Moms and even a child psychologist for help. I want, we ALL want, to raise strong, emotionally stable, kids. I have been looking for practical, easy, and straight forward tools to help me in my fight for these girls' self esteem as they careen towards those perilous teen years.
Recently an author reached out on Facebook for people to read and review her book. Now, I don't accept many of these offers. With five small kids at home, my reading time is limited, but when I read the description of this book I knew I had to read it.
This book is broken into 5 categories (called "accounts"): physical health, emotional strength, social skills, spiritual balance, and intellectual growth. Each category is divided into small sections that cover areas you can discuss with your child, educate yourself about as a parent, and small activities you can do together to develop that skill. The thought is that all of these "Accounts" need to be filled up in order to raise a stronger child. Here is the breakdown of the Accounts and the Sections within them...
This is what a typical section looks like. You'll see how easy it is to read and apply. You can do this in 5 minutes or you can draw it out to more time and some longer discussions with your child. (click to enlarge).
My oldest daughter Ella, age 11, was diagnosed at 7 years old with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. You can read more about my experience with that HERE. I'm not new to the world of this child and dealing with her fears. But I'm always looking for new strategies and so she and I went through the Adventure section of the Physical Account. We talked about why adventure is important, what it means to go outside your comfort zone, and strategies to help her use what she learned in real life.
The same week she attended her sister's birthday party at a Fun Park. The other little girls wanted to go on a haunted ghost ride (way too much for my daughter's anxiety) so I offered to go with her on the go-karts. This is something she has never tried before and was pretty afraid of since it was full of unknowns. We talked about the skills from the Adventure portion of the book. She agreed to try it as long as I went as slowly as she told me too. We crawled along that track for half a lap, but then her courage grew. She gave me permission to go half speed. After finishing that first lap, the teenagers who started with us were close to lapping our go-kart. When she saw them approaching she told me to step on it! We went full-speed, howling together as we turned each corner! It was a triumph!!! I cannot even express what these moments mean to a parent who has a child with an anxiety disorder.
Our younger, 9 year old, daughter has had problems at school this year. It recently came to light that she has been being bullied emotionally and physically by another girl in her class. We went through the steps needed with the school and the other girl was removed from my daughter's class, but now we start the long process of trying to heal our daughter. I plan on going through this entire book with her, page by page, but for this review I did the Optimism section from the Emotional Account. We found the suggested activity very useful! Despite the bully being removed from class, my daughter is struggling daily with stomach aches, fear, and loneliness while at school. I have not known how to help her since she is at school when these feelings arise.
We sat together and she made the list suggested in this section. She listed things she is apprehensive about at school and then made a correlating list of phrases she can say or things she can do to approach that difficulty with optimism. Her favorite phrase we came up with was "I Can Do Hard Things!" (from this talk). We even started each school day chanting some of the phrases we came up with before she left for school, hoping to start her day off with feelings of optimism. "I am strong! I am powerful! I can do hard things!" It has really helped! Her teacher has reported a dramatic change in her attitude and her feelings of self-confidence at school. Her teacher has also taken to reminding her "You can do hard things!" when my daughter gets frustrated or down at school.
Truly, I can not recommend this book enough! It is so easy, adaptable and is filled with amazing information and additional resources. I have seen it work with both of my older children. I honestly think it should be a part of every parent's book shelf.
Right now the Kindle version of this book is only $1 from Amazon. I read a lot of fiction and other books on my iPhone, but with this kind of book, I really enjoy a physical copy. Those are available for $18 and I think it's well worth it. I am actually going to buy the Kindle version today so I have both at my disposal!