Friday, June 12, 2009

Review: Parenting Your Anxious Child with Mindfulness and Acceptance by Christopher McCurry

is a thorough guide for parents to a new approach Dr. McCurry recommends called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). I have a child who deals with anxiety and was very interested in reading this book after Dr. McCurry contacted me and asked me to consider reading and reviewing it.

Product Description: We live in a chaotic and often unpredictable world, so it's only natural for you and your child to have anxieties. But seeing your child cry, cling to you, or even use aggression to avoid his or her own fears and worries may cause you to worry even more, trapping both of you in a cycle of anxiety and fear.

You can interrupt this cycle with the proven-effective mindfulness and acceptance skills taught in this book. Drawn from acceptance and commitment therapy, Parenting Your Anxious Child with Mindfulness and Acceptance offers a new way to think about your child's anxiety, as well as a set of techniques used by child psychologists to help children as young as four let go of anxious feelings and focus instead on relationships with friends, learning new things in school, and having fun. You'll learn these techniques, use them when you feel anxious, and teach them to your child. With practice, you both will let go of anxious feelings and your child will find the confidence to enjoy being a kid.

Parenting Your Anxious Child with Mindfulness and Acceptance allowed me to look at my child's anxiety differently and consider different approaches. It encourages you to look at the anxious behaviors and reactions of your child and the "dance" that develops between you as a parent and your child. The "dance" is a familiar pattern and cycle that you develop as well as your own anxieties and often it is not effective. This book encourages us to break the cycle and develop improved communication, confidence and self-control in our children.

There is much information on the definition and diagnosis of anxiety as well as many examples of different children and how this ACT approach can be used. There are also exercises to try on your own with guidance as to how to do so. The book explains ACT but it's an approach that is hard to summarize, you can read Dr. McMurry's definition of ACT here on his blog. This is the kind of book that has thorough explanations and tools and exercises to apply. I have a health care background and was familiar with much of the information and felt a bit overwhelmed at times with all of the information. I would suggest reading it in chapters and taking your time thinking about the sections and even taking notes to refer to. It can be studied alone or complemented with therapy from a psychologist who understands and implements this approach. I have tried a few of the exercises and feel that they can be effective after more practice. I plan to re-read parts of the book and continue to try working through some of the exercises. This is a gentle and loving approach to anxiety and does encourage you as a parent to look at alternatives to the cycle and avoid the anxiety "dance".

You can read an excerpt, and view the table of contents.

Visit Chris McCurry, Ph.D Website, here.

About the author from his website:

Dr. Chris McCurry is a husband, a father, and a clinical child psychologist practicing in Seattle, Washington . His practice is limited to work with children ages 3 through 12 and their parents. Areas of specialization are anxiety, Autism/Asperger’s Spectrum and other problems of socialization and fitting-in, and issues related to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. He also works with children who are capable but who are underachieving in school. Parenting Your Anxious Child with Mindfulness and Acceptance is his first book.


  1. Thank you!

    What ages of children is this book aimed at?

    It sounds like a very useful resource.

  2. can I just say that I'm so thankful my boys are grown up????? But a great resource for parents to young kids...great review Bonnie!

  3. This does sound like it would be overwhelming (but I'm sure it's also very helpful).

  4. Interesting! I hope parents who need help find this book.


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