Parenting Topics, Reading Resources

Reading Recommendations

Parents frequently ask me for relevant books on topics related to parenting their anxious children.  I always encourage parents (and children or teens) to increase their understanding and knowledge, though with so many options out there it difficult to know what to choose.  The list below includes resources for both parents and  youth.

Complete Booklist – Anxiety Resources for Families

Generalized Anxiety + Parenting 


*What to Do When Your Child Worries Too Much.  Aureen Wagner

*Helping your Anxious Child, a Step-by-step Guide for parents.  Ronald Rapee, S. Spence, V. Cobham & A. Wignall

*Freeing Your Child from Anxiety: Powerful, Practical Solutions to Overcome Your Child’s Fears, Worries and Phobias.   Tamar Chansky

*Keys to Parenting Your Anxious Child. K. Manassis

Your Anxious Child:  How Parents and Teachers Can Relieve Anxiety in Children.  John Dacey and Lisa Fiore


*What to Do When You’re Scared & Worried. by James J. Christ (for kids and discusses different types of Anxiety Disorders)

I Bet I Won’t Fret:  A workbook to help Children with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  Timothy Sisemore

*What to Do When You Worry Too Much (younger child).  Dawn Heubner

David and the Worry Beast: Helping Children Cope with Anxiety.  Anne Marie Guanci and Caroline Attia (younger child)

School Phobia, Social Anxiety & Panic Attacks


 School Phobia, Panic Attacks and Anxiety in Children.  Marianna Csoti

Overcoming School Anxiety:  How to Help Your Child Deal with Separation, Tests, Homework, Bullies, Math Phobia and Other Worries.  Diane Peters Mayer

Helping Your Child Overcome Separation Anxiety or School Refusal:  A Step-by-Step Guide for Parents.  Andrew Eisen, Linda Engler and Joshua Sparrow

The Sky Is Falling: Understanding & Coping with Phobias, Panic & OCD. Raeann Dumont 

Helping Your Socially Vulnerable Child: What to Do When Your Child Is Shy, Socially Anxious, Withdrawn, or Bullied.  Andrew Eisen, Linda Engler and Joshua Sparrow.


I Don’t Want to Go to School: Helping Children Cope with Separation Anxiety (Let’s Talk).  Nancy Pando.  (Younger children)



The Hair-Pulling Problem: a Complete Guide to Trichotillomania. Fred Penzel

Help for Hair Pullers: Understanding and Coping with Trichotillomania. Nancy Keuthen, et al

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder


*Freeing Your Child from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: a Powerful, Practical Program for Parents of Children and Adolescents. Tamar Chansky

*Talking Back to OCD: The Program That Helps Kids and Teens Say “No Way” — and Parents Say “Way to Go.”  John March

Helping Your Child with OCD: a Workbook for Parents of Children with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Lee Fitzgibbons & Cherry Pedrick

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: New Help for the Family. Herbert Gravitz

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders: a Complete Guide to Getting Well and Staying Well, Fred Penzel, Ph.D.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Help for Children and Adolescents. Mitzi Waltz

Teaching the Tiger: a Handbook for Individuals Involved in the Education of Students with Attention Deficit Disorders, Tourette Syndrome or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Marilyn Dornbush & Sheryl Pruitt


**Kissing Doorknobs. Terry Spencer Hesser

*Mr. Worry: a Story about OCD. Holly Niner (younger child)

**What to Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming OCD (What-to-Do Guides for Kids).  Dawn Heubner 

Blink, Blink, Clop, Clop: Why do We Do Things We Can’t Stop? An OCD Storybook, by E. Katia Moritz, Jennifer Jablonsky, and Rick Geary

Touch And Go Joe: An Adolescent’s Experience of OCD. Joe Wells

**Up and Down the Worry Hill: a Child’s Book about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Its Treatment. Aureen Pinto Wagner & Paul Jutton


*Indigo Dreams: Relaxation and Stress Management Bedtime Stories for Children, Improve Sleep, Manage Stress and Anxiety (Indigo Dreams) [AUDIOBOOK]  by Lori Lite

*The Goodnight Caterpillar:  A Children’s Relaxation Story to Improve Sleep, Manage Stress, Anxiety, Anger (Indigo Dreams).  Lori Lite and Kimberly Fox

When My Worries Get Too Big!  A Relaxation Book for Children Who Live with Anxiety.  Kari Dunn Buron

Behavioral Problems & Parenting Strategies:

*The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children. Ross Green. Harper Collins, 2005.

Parenting the Explosive Child: the Collaborative Problem Solving Approach. VIDEO: Featuring Ross Greene & Stuart Ablon, VHS and DVD format $65.95 each

*Taking Charge of ADHD: the Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents, Revised 2000. Russell Barkley

The Incredible Years: A Trouble-Shooting Guide for Parents of Children Aged 3-8.  Carolyn Webster-Stratton.

*1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-13. T. Phelan, $22.95; Video, $59.95; DVD, $55.95; More l-2-3 Magic Video, $59.95; DVD $55.95

*Angry Children, Worried Parents: Seven Steps to Help Families Manage Anger. Sam Goldstein et al

*The Angry Child: Regaining Control When Your Child is Out of Control. Tim Murphy

*Asperger Syndrome and Difficult Moments: Practical Solutions for Tantrums, Rage, and Meltdowns. Brenda Smith Myles & Jack Southwick

Parenting a Child with Asperger Syndrome: 200 Tips and Strategies.  Brenda Boyd, 2003.

*The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Integration Dysfunction, Revised 2005. Carol Kranowitz

Ariel Shea, LCSW

The Looking Glass, LLC

Denver, Colorado


Parenting Topics

When Do I Need Help?


Children and adolescents often struggle to communicate their needs in ways that parents can understand.  However, parents are often the first and best experts on recognizing that their child is experiencing difficulties, whether emotionally or behaviorally.  Many parents can often identify the “cues” their children present but struggle with how to approach or manage these cues.   Talking with your child is always an important first step, as it opens the door for communication and shows your child that “feeling talk” is safe and important to you.  Gathering information from your child’s Teachers and other supportive adults can also give you more insight as to how your child is doing in all areas of his or her life.  Sometimes, simply talking with your child about their feelings helps to reduce their distress.  In other cases, your child or teen’s distress may be significant enough that additional help or evaluation may be necessary. 

Below are a few signals that your child or teen may benefit from a professional evaluation or treatment:

Younger Children:

– Noticeable change or decline in school performance

– Behavioral difficulties, including frequent or intense tantrums, aggression, persistent opposition/defiance

– Hyperactivity, impulsivity and distractibility that impact their ability to maintain appropriate academic or social expectations

– Significant fears or worries that may include school refusal, resistance to socialize or engage in age-appropriate activities

– Excessive or odd behaviors that are not common to their age group

– Frequent complaints of headaches, stomachaches or “feeling sick”

– Persistent sadness that includes frequent crying spells, sleep problems, self-injurious behaviors or comments

Pre-Adolescents and Adolescents:

 Marked change in school performance  

– High-risk or dangerous behaviors, including sexual acting out, aggression, running away, stealing

– Persistent changes in mood, including severe irritability or sadness

– Noticeable changes in sleep or appetite patterns

– Social withdrawal or isolation

– Threats to harm oneself or others or self-injurious behaviors

– Fears or worries that impact daily functioning

– Behaviors or beliefs that appear unusual, strange or “out of character,” including reports of hearing or seeing things

– Abuse of alcohol or drugs

– Frequent or intense emotional outbursts; inability to manage stressors

– Consistent defiance of rules or expectations; opposition to authority or disregard of others’ feelings


If your child or teen is exhibiting the above difficulties to the point you or others are concerned, it could be helpful to seek consultation.

Ariel Shea, LCSW

The Looking Glass, LLC

Denver, Colorado