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The Opposite of Worry: The Playful Parenting Approach to Childhood Anxieties and Fears [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Lawrence J. Cohen , Johnny Heller
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Audio, CD, Audiobook, 3 Sep 2013 --  

Book Description

3 Sep 2013
“The most helpful book on childhood anxiety I have ever read.”—Michael Thompson, Ph.D.
Whether it’s the monster in the closet or the fear that arises from new social situations, school, or sports, anxiety can be especially challenging and maddening for children. And since anxiety has a mind of its own, logic and reassurance often fail, leaving parents increasingly frustrated about how to help. Now Lawrence J. Cohen, Ph.D., the author of Playful Parenting, provides a special set of tools to handle childhood anxiety. Offering simple, effective strategies that build connection through fun, play, and empathy, Dr. Cohen helps parents
• start from a place of warmth, compassion, and understanding
• teach children the basics of the body’s “security system”: alert, alarm, assessment, and all clear.
• promote tolerance of uncertainty and discomfort by finding the balance between outright avoidance and “white-knuckling” through a fear
• find lighthearted ways to release tension in the moment, labeling stressful emotions on a child-friendly scale
• tackle their own anxieties so they can stay calm when a child is distressed
• bring children out of their anxious thoughts and into their bodies by using relaxation, breathing, writing, drawing, and playful roughhousing
With this insightful resource of easy-to-implement solutions and strategies, you and your child can experience the opposite of worry, anxiety, and fear and embrace connection, trust, and joy.
Advance praise for The Opposite of Worry
“If you want to understand your child’s anxiety—and your own parental worries—you must read Larry Cohen’s brilliant book, The Opposite of Worry. Dr. Cohen is one of the most imaginative and thoughtful psychologists you will ever encounter. He explains how and why children become anxious and then shows how we can use empathy and play to help them escape from the terrifying dark corners of childhood.”—Michael Thompson, Ph.D.

The Opposite of Worry offers a treasure trove of ideas to help children feel confident and secure. Lawrence Cohen has written a book that will help every parent of an anxious child.”—Aletha Solter, Ph.D., founder, Aware Parenting, and author of Attachment Play
“Here’s the help parents of anxious children have been looking for! Dr. Cohen’s genius is in the warm and generous spirit of the strategies he outlines for parents. He grounds his playful approach in a sound explanation of how anxiety affects children, and how they heal.”—Patty Wipfler, founder and program director, Hand in Hand Parenting
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Media Inc; Unabridged edition (3 Sep 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452615292
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452615295
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 13.5 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,735,909 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lawrence J. Cohen, PhD, is a US licensed psychologist, author, speaker, and consultant. His book, Playful Parenting, was the winner of the NAPPA GOLD AWARD for parenting resources, and has been translated into several languages--look for the Polish, Czech, and Korean translations coming soon. Playful Parenting is also available as an audiobook. Larry is also the co-author of two books about children's friendships, popularity, and social cruelty. His newest book, The Art of Roughhousing, to be published by Quirk Books, is co-written with Anthony DeBenedet, MD. The Art of Roughhousing is available for pre-order now, and will hit the Amazon warehouse on May 17, 2011. In addition to his private practice of psychotherapy and play therapy, Larry is a frequent speaker at schools and community groups, and he serves on the advisory boards of Playskool Toys and of the Blue School in New York City. He lives in Brookline, MA, USA. Learn more at or

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good ideas 16 Mar 2014
By Omoge
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a therapist and a parent I found the ideas, pictures and metaphors in this book very u s eful.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book! It will give you the tools/techniques you need to help your child work through his/her anxiety! 6 Oct 2013
By Karen B. - Published on
I became familiar with Dr. Cohen's work after hearing him on NPR one morning. I receive his parenting newsletter and recently had the pleasure of attending one of his lectures where he highlighted his new book, The Opposite of Worry. The talk was great and one technique he shared that was of particular interest to me was the Stop/Go Method. Dr. Cohen explained this simple technique that can help to reduce your child's anxiety in a number of situations. Basically a game, you and your child are engaged in a 'stopping and going' activity---with your child being the one 'in charge.' I tried it out the next morning when brushing my seven year old daughter's hair...and I am still in shock with the results! As long as she has had hair, brushing has been an absolute nightmare, each and every morning. I always knew it was rooted in anxiety, but wondered if there were some other issues too because her reactions/screams/crying were so intense. Anyway, tried Stop/Go the other morning (which literally took 15 seconds)and she was laughing and begging me to keep brushing!!!! I'm excited to read more and would strongly encourage any parent to purchase this book.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helped us more than any expert we saw and within weeks! Thank you Dr Cohen! 31 Jan 2014
By Thursday Rain - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My daughter is 5 and has had severe anxiety, particularly related to separating from me. We've seen experts since she was 2.5 as the anxiety was so bad it was affecting her sleep. She'd wake hourly (and scream, panicked) to make sure I was still next to her. My daughter is visually impaired and has sensory processing issues. She was legally blind for the first couple of years of her life and relied on me for navigation and to feel comfortable in the world (with her separate sensory issues). Not an easy case. We had kindergarten assessments coming up and a mom I met whose daughter also suffers from anxiety recommended this book. It's helped us far more than any therapist/doctor/child educator we spoke with and it helped us within weeks. Seriously, my daughter has NEVER gone to a friend's house alone, or to a class alone (save for preschool - but I went with her for months while we desensitized her to it) or even let me go to the bathroom alone at good friends' homes. Yet last weekend she went and did two kindergarten assessments with new teachers and new kids in new places WITHOUT ME for over an hour each time and she came out BEAMING!
In our case my daughter was scared I'd "disappear" and I really needed to see this from her perspective. Instead of saying there was no need to worry about that, I loved her, of course I'd be back, I really thought about it and realized if I thought she might disappear if she went to a particular place, of course I'd NEVER let her go. I'd be terrified just like she is! I conveyed this to her and told her Daddy wouldn't let me go places if I thought I might disappear, my parents wouldn't, my friends wouldn't. Also to really test the matter, for a whole week, I tried disappearing with her assistance, using magic words, etc. It never worked. So I suggested even though she worries I might, maybe she doesn't need to believe those worries.
I also pretended I was very worried she might leave me and go to the North Pole. Dr Cohen teaches you to empower the child and to make it fun. And we practiced being a little bit scared so she learned that just because you might feel a little unnerved it doesn't mean everything is going to get worse. This is keeping your child at their edge.
I feel like no matter what your situation, if your child is anxious, there will be information and ideas to help in this book. You do have to figure out how to adapt tactics and strategies to your family/situation...but that's the playful part and it's honestly fun. With mind blowing results. As all the kids went off with the teachers and my daughter went with them, (with NO apparent anxiety at the second school), I wanted to jump up and down with amazement. Dr Cohen, you have changed our lives and I'm telling EVERYONE about your book. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the opposite of worry 12 Oct 2013
By Lee - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Dr. Cohen's book, The Opposite of Worry, delivers powerful tools to help parents deal with anxious children. The first, and most important, in my opinion, is immediately highlighting the fact that that many anxious children have parents who are also quite anxious. His book is written on two levels, one aimed at assisting parents by providing them with fun, easily implemented scenarios to employ if their children are perfectionists, fear separation, thunderstorms, swim lessons and have other common childhood worries.

I loved the section on Parenting with Empathy. Dr. Cohen hones in on things that parents often say in attempts to make their children feel better, but which, unfortunately can make children feel incompetent. He then provides a list of comments that actually do validate children and ease their worried feelings.

On this second level, Dr. Cohen provides parents with solid information about the causes and effects of anxiety in a way that an anxious adult might say, "Wait a minute, those are exactly the things that my mother said to me. No wonder I am anxious all the time. No wonder my hands are cold and I worry every time my child goes out the door. Do I say those things to my child, too?"

With warmth, self-deprecating examples, Dr. Cohen offers examples of his own struggles with his boyhood fears. He says they are not completely gone, but no longer limit his life.

He offers great hope for change in the actions of well meaning anxious parents. As the former director of a childcare program, I feel that this is the key to combatting childhood anxiety. The opposite of worry is an easy read and one that I have recommended (or given copies to) to nearly everyone I know who interacts with young children.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very informative book 11 Oct 2013
By Anna Veselinova - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am half the way through the book but it describes many situations in a very understandable manner.
If I have read this book two years ago... this should have helped me a lot and save a lot of worries with my child.
Every parent of a more sensitive and emotional child should read this book for some very easy and helping techniques or to know how to identify a good specialist to consult his child if necessary.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book 2 Nov 2013
By K - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not only is this book helping us help our daughter, it's helping both my husband and me change how we worry. Wonderful!!!!
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