“When the World Feels Like a Scary Place” by Abigail Gewitz

Weekly Trip to the Library

Who hasn’t felt anxiety over the past year? Amid the pandemic, racial injustice, capitol riot, gun violence, and unemployment this year has been really hard.

University of Minnesota researcher Abigail Gewirtz’s book When the World Feels Like a Scary Place: Essential Conversations for Anxious Parents and Worried Kids centers on navigating emotions through conversations. With her experience as a clinical psychologist specializing in trauma, she focuses on the kinds of conversations that help kids and parents understand stress and intense negative emotions.

Gewirtz shares the sobering statistic that parents spend an average of only three minutes each day talking with their kids. With this in mind, she shows parents how to listen, what to say, and how to say it, with sample scripts on topics like violence, natural disasters, climate change, technology, social justice, our divided society, parent military deployment, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

She uses sample conversations to convey important lessons about how to have meaningful discussions with children. The lessons she teaches can be applied to the topics she covers and to any other topics. Any parent who reads this will come away with helpful ideas for talking to their kids

In When the World Feels Like a Scary Place: Essential Conversations for Anxious Parents and Worried Kids the author begins by explaining how bad news and stress can elicit a variety of responses in parents because we differ in our perceptions, genetics, personalities, and life experiences. She invites parents to try practical exercises to explore where they feel stress in the body and how you respond to it. She offers ideas for calming strategies, like taking 10 deep breaths, taking a news break, using humor, and distracting yourself when feeling stressed or anxious.

“Ultimately, the goal of an essential conversation isn’t only to calm your child, but to help her figure out that she has choices about how to respond to her big feelings when the world feels scary,” Gerwitz writes.

The author’s religious and political views are pretty evident in the book. Even if you don’t agree with those views, the tools emphasized in each conversation are applicable to any viewpoint the reader holds.

Amazon Prime is a great way to buy children’s and parenting books because you get unlimited free two-day shipping, can borrow Kindle books, and instantly watch thousands of movies and TV episodes.

You can purchase your own copy of When the World Feels Like a Scary Place: Essential Conversations for Anxious Parents and Worried Kids by clicking the title in this review or click here to visit my storefront.

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