Adults often have trouble understanding and addressing the sources of their children's fears. In Listening to Fear, Dr. Steven Marans shares the techniques for easing distress that he has developed for children of all ages in his work as the director of the National Center for Children Exposed to Violence at Yale University.
His advice is based on three steps parents must take before they can talk effectively with their children. First, adults must begin to work through their own fears. Second, parents need to set aside their ideas about what their children are feeling and learn from the children themselves. Third, Marans's experience has shown that children and adolescents communicate their unease in actions more than in words, so adults must learn to interpret this behavioral language.
Listening to Fear also offers specific, pragmatic tactics for actually speaking with kids, organized by age group and proven in Marans's research. These methods include ways to
- ask about the concerns and worries of your child's friends
- think through the messages behind your child's questions before answering
- reassure your child with facts, but not too many
Listening to Fear is an indispensable guide for parents and for children anxious about an ever-threatenting world.