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Review: "Stress-Free Kids" ... Really?
February 28, 2014 - Betsy Bethel
Want to know how to stress THIS mom out? Give her a 205-page manual full of things you HAVE TO DO to de-stress yourself and your kids. OK, so that was my first thought when I gazed upon the book “Stress Free Kids: A Parent’s Guide to Helping Build Self-Esteem, Manage Stress and Reduce Anxiety in Children” by Lori Lite (what a convenient last name!).
But then I ordered my snarkiness to stand down and took a gander at the introduction. The first two things Lite says you need to do are breathe and talk to yourself — I already do both of those things! Maybe this won’t be so hard! Of course, the keys are to breathe DEEPLY and talk POSITIVELY to yourself. OK. That’s still doable.
After further perusal, I found that Lite’s book does offer some helpful tools for parents who are pushed beyond their limits and are raising children who are riddled with anxiety and self-doubt. For instance, I have noticed a definite connection to my reaction to stress and my daughter’s reaction to the stressed-out me. It’s ugly, folks.
I’ve also recently realized I don’t have near as much fun as I used to with Emma, who will be 8 in two weeks. In the first chapter, Lite suggests we, ahem, lighten up. “Although they might not have the words to express this, children want happy parents who aren’t stressed out.” Studies show this, Lite points out, but it was Kid President, the adorable 9-year-old YouTube star, who gave me the “aha” moment in his open letter to moms featuring “10 Things Every Mom Needs to Know,” which I came across on Facebook recently. “We love to see you have fun!” he says, going on to suggest moms dance in the grocery store or sing in the driveway. (Click the link at right and watch it. Seriously. It will de-stress you for at least the three minutes. it takes to watch it.)
This message really hit home with me. Just the other day, after a normal, stressful morning, Emma said to me out of the blue: “Remember that time we talked for the stink bugs? That was fun.” She was referring to a five-minute block of time several months ago when we laid on our backs on my bed and watched two stink bugs crawl across the ceiling — and we gave them voices. We talked for them as they wandered around -- heading toward the ceiling light fixture and circling it then wandering across the ceiling on a different adventure, etc. It WAS fun. And she remembered it. We need to share many more moments like that.
Lite offers much more advice, including personal anecdotes, snippets from other parents, Q&As, stess-less activities, “mindful mantras” (the talking-to-yourself thing again) and the most brilliant part of all, an index, so you can quickly locate the precise page where she addresses, say, bedwetting (34) or the morning routine (124).
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