Welcome to a new blog series. Where we will help educate parents and children about mental health in children and about diversity. It is important to not just teach parents, but even children about mental health and diversity in the world today.
About the Author of the Book Jenny Is Scared!”
The author of this book is Carol Shuman who is a clinical psychologist who works with children, adolescents, and adults. This was the first book she has written for children.
For many kids in todays society there is a lot of things going on. From COVID-19 to the racial injustice that we still face today. Children are worried too. They see their parents watching the news and worrying about what is happening, their schools shut down due to COVID, sports are canceled, kids are stuck inside during the summer. It has just been a year that everyone has been worried. But children do not understand it all like adults do and this book “Jenny Is Scared!” is great in helping children manage these worrying times. It shows the fears and reactions of children when it comes to traumatic events.
About the Book
In this book, it is about two children Jenny and her brother Sam. It starts with their day becoming scary, school was canceled, lessons were canceled, and all the usual TV shows were off in place of news. They begin to over hear their parents talking about the bad things going on in the news and their parents are glued to the TV. They know something is going on because their parents forgot to make them lunch that day. They then talked to their parents to ask what is making everyone so sad and worried, but their parents were there to comfort them and told them that there is nothing to worry about. This book is very helpful for parents when it comes to their children and the bad things that happen everyday. As children, there are so many people you can talk to when you are unsure and worried, from your family and friends, to your teachers and counselors and even your pets. As children, talking about feelings to anyone can make them feel better.
Relation to Today’s World
The beginning of this book is just like what happened in todays society with COVID-19. Schools began to shut down, people started canceling lessons, and nothing was on TV except the news. Children can see the worry on their parents faces, but as parents you need to be the ones that protect your kids and to make sure everything is okay. If they have questions let them know that what is going on is scary but we are here to protect you from it. There will always be things in the world that are scary for children and there will be bad things but as parents or adults in a child’s life we have to help them and show them that everything will be okay. Like adults, children need to talk about their feelings and there is so many people they can talk to about them.
The News is also filled with the racial injustice that we are still facing today. All over the United States there have been mass protest. Some are peaceful but there were also some peaceful at the beginning that turned violent. As a child seeing all this on the news there are a lot of questions they might have, like what are they doing, why are they doing that, and is that close to us? As a parent this is the time to tell them what is happening and help them better understand it for themselves. This is the time to not be quiet and tell your children not to worry, as parents this is the time to tell them why everything is going on and help them understand so future generations can help with the change. There needs to be a change and that needs to start with the parents talking to their children.
Signs of Anxiety in Children
Early in a child’s life anxiety can be misinterpreted as negative behaviors as a child just acting out. These negative behaviors can become intense as time goes by. As a parent, this can be very frustrating not understanding why your child is acting the way they are. Some signs to look at with children are avoidance, tantrums, agitation, not wanting to go to school, constant tantrums before school and during school and poor focus (Matheis 2020).
Techniques for Parents to Help Their Children with Anxiety
One of the most common techniques for children to process their emotions is through play. Through play children develop new skills and learn to process their emotions. Play therapy teaches children a way to relax and manage the fears that they have as well as their anxiety. Being able to learn to relax the body, children can cope better with stress, fear, and anxiety situations. There are also breathing, visualizing and music techniques that help children with stress and anxiety. There are other blogs that have been written from Olive Branch about breathing and Visual techniques that are very useful and should be read as well. Being able to recognize when your child in anxious and having a couple techniques at hand as a parent can be very beneficial (Sori & Biank, 2016).
If you or your child are in the Chicagoland area struggling with anxiety and depression do not hesitate to call Olive Branch at (708)-633-8000 and talk to someone. Out of the area? Contact your areas professional counseling associations
Matheis, L. (2020, March 12). Signs of Anxiety in Children: Child Anxiety Symptoms. Retrieved June 23, 2020, from https://www.anxiety.org/causes-and-symptoms-of-anxiety-in-children
Pillo, C., & Shuman, C. (2003). Jenny is scared!: When sad things happen in the world. Washington, DC: Magination Press.
Sori, C. F., & Biank, N. (2016). Soaring above stress: Using relaxation, visualization, and music with children who display signs of anxiety or hyperactivity. In C. F. Sori, L. L. Hecker, & M. E. Bachenberg (Eds.), The therapist’s notebook for children and adolescents: Homework, handouts, and activities for use in psychotherapy., 2nd ed. (pp. 47–55). Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.