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Random Musings

When your kids are Frazzled

Don’t let the modest size of TFC for Frazzled Kids by Nancy Goodell and Ann Garrett fool you. Its 104 pages are packed with so much wisdom that, while reading it, I kept asking myself “Where was this book when I needed it?” This mighty little book could also be titled TLC for Frazzled Parents of Frazzled Kids. Every page within every short chapter throws a lifeline to parents and caretakers at their wits end as to how best help their children during difficult times. Goodell and Garrett have spent their lives working with children who exhibit out-of-control behaviors. During her 40 years as a teacher serving at-risk children during which Goodell developed a model that help grownups help kids. Garrett, the author of six published children’s books, spent years working with severely disturbed children and began using Goodell’s model while working with her at a therapeutic school. “We cannot protect our children from the challenges they face, but we can support them to learn strategies that will enable them to be safe and successful, even when they are stressed,” writes Goodell. Over the years, her definition of frazzled kids has broadened to include all children who at one time or another lose control. Delightfully illustrated by renowned cartoonist Gaspar Vaccaro, TLC for Frazzled Kids provides adults with a step-by-step process to use with “frazzled” children. The techniques are simple. For example: set clear limits to ensure safety and success; issue comprehensible guidance and offer affirming feedback; apply logical and natural consequences to reinforce personal responsibility; encourage honesty in a non-punitive environment; maintain a calm, balanced, non-threatening demeanor; establish routines; have realistic expectations; encourage children to recognize their bodily responses to stress and to develop calming strategies. Not all of us are prepared to be the parent our children need us to be. This book can help rectify that situation. Parents and children can build the bridge together.
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