When the World Feels Like a Scary Place: Essential Conversations for Anxious Parents and Worried Kids

When the World Feels Like a Scary Place: Essential Conversations for Anxious Parents and Worried Kids

by Abigail Gewirtz PhD


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"A terrific book for parents who want to know how to talk about difficult, emotional issues with children."––Nancy Eisenberg, Regents' Professor of Psychology, Arizona State University 

​Includes how to talk to your kids about COVID-19.

In a lifesaving guide for parents, Dr. Abigail Gewirtz shows how to use the most basic tool at your disposal––conversation––to give children real help in dealing with the worries, stress, and other negative emotions caused by problems in the world, from active shooter drills to climate change.

But it's not just how to talk to your kids, it's also what to say: The heart of When the World Feels Like a Scary Place is a series of conversation scripts––with actual dialogue, talking points, prompts, and insightful asides––that are each age-appropriate and centered around different issues. Along the way are tips about staying calm in an anxious world; the way children react to stress, and how parents can read the signs; and how parents can make sure that their own anxiety doesn't color the conversation. Talking and listening are essential for nurturing resilient, confident, and compassionate children. And conversation will help you manage your anxieties too, offering a path of wholeness and security for everyone in the family. 

"Remarkable... Compelling advice illustrated with memorable case examples."––Ann S. Masten, PhD, Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Development, University of Minnesota 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781523508310
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date: 06/09/2020
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 55,113
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Dr. Abi Gewirtz is a child psychologist and a leading expert on families under stress. She is a Professor in the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development (ranked the world’s third-leading institution of its kind),. Her career has been devoted to developing and testing award-winning, skills-based parenting programs, like the U.S. military After Deployment, Adaptive Parenting Tools/ADAPT, that promote children’s resilience. Dr. Gewirtz has published more than 60 articles, book chapters, and a book on parenting and children’s resilience. She is Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Psychology, a member of the Executive Committee of the International Union of Psychological Science, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Society for Prevention Research. She has consulted to national and international organizations including the U.S. Congress, and UNICEF, on parenting. She has conducted research in the United States, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, and has been invited to speak widely, in the U.S. and across the world, on parenting in times of stress. A native of London, England, Dr. Abi resides in Minnesota with her husband and four children.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Trampolines v

Part 1 The Age of Anxiety 1

Chapter 1 Parents Matter Now More Than Ever 2

Chapter 2 What Bad News Does to (Us) Parents 13

Chapter 3 Nature, Nurture, and the Parent-Child Dance 38

Part 2 Understanding Emotions 55

Chapter 4 Teaching Children About Emotions 56

Chapter 5 Help Kids Respond to Big Emotions 70

Chapter 6 Coaching Emotions 88

Part 3 Essential Conversations 103

How Do I Talk with My Child? 104

Chapter 7 Conversations About Violence 123

Chapter 8 Conversations About Natural Disasters and Climate Change 150

Chapter 9 Conversations About the Perils of Technology 178

Chapter 10 Conversations About Social Justice 201

Chapter 11 Conversations About Our Divided Society 232

Epilogue: "Take Ten" to Help Children Grow into Confident, Compassionate, and Civil Adults 258

Part 4 Bonus Conversations 261

Feeling Scared During the COVID-19/Coronavirus Pandemic 262

When a Parent Deploys 271

Resources 282

Notes 286

Acknowledgments 291

Index 293

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