Recommended Books & Resources
I read a lot of books. Below are some of my favorites that can be a great place to start prior to therapy, or in adjunct to therapy.
First up is one of my favorite parenting books of all time, Transforming the Intense Child Workbook by Glasser. This book (originally called Transforming the Difficult Child) is a completely different approach to parenting all children, especially those that are intense or challenging. It's very much based on relationship and how as a parent you show up for your child and where you are creating relationship with them - is it over the good stuff, or misbehavior.
This book is not about punishment and consequences (and therefore is excellent if you have a kid who doesn't seem to care one way or another about having their toy/screen/money/etc taken away). It's more about repairing and building your relationship with your child and having them feel more successful, which has a lovely byproduct of improved behavior and cooperation. This book has several iterations as it is constantly evolving. I recommend you buy the most recent version (ie Transforming the Intense Child, not Transforming the Difficult Child) as there is greater clarity about the tools, and the newer version has implemented "Resets," a concept I love.
One of the best all around parenting books. I think if you've got kids, you should read this. Excellent explanations of the brain, why kids do what they do, and ways to respond to your child from an emotionally sensitive and validating place. Many schools are using The Whole Brain Child's terminology of "flipping your lid" as a way to describe losing it or having a meltdown, reading this book will help you use the same information at home.
Have an anxious kiddo? Get this book: What to do when you worry too much by Heubner. I love most of the books in this series, but find I recommend this one above all others. It's a workbook style, if you're child is below age 9/10, then it's usually best if you do it together. Older kids and adolescents can do it themselves. I even recommend it to my older teens, 15/16+ with the caveat that yes it's kind of childish, but has great tools and ideas that can be helpful for anyone.
Another book in this helpful series, great for kids who struggle with fears at night and have trouble sleeping. I think one of the best things this book does is help kids feel like they aren't the only ones with night fears...I mean, there's a whole book written for them! Again just some great tools to use at home to gain exposure to night and tools for fear including working up to playing a version of hide and seek in the dark.
Have an anxious kiddo or teen in Seattle? Did you know Seattle Children's Hospital has an excellent anxiety group? Meeting is once a week for 12 weeks, parents go into one group, kids/teens go into another group (grouped by age). Every kid and parent who I've sent has always had great things to say and come away with helpful information and skills. You have to be referred to the group by your PCP or therapist. There's usually a bit of a wait to get in, and an evaluation at Children's is required. But overall an excellent resource. Click the PDF to the left and it should download the information sheet from Children's Hospital.
Freeing Your Child From Anxiety by Chansky.
This book is for parents of kiddos who struggle with anxiety. Some excellent hands on tools for ways to respond to your child and help your child. Also just great explanations of different types of anxiety, and when you probably need to get professional help.
I'm honestly still looking for a good book for parents of teens with anxiety. This book would still be helpful, but doesn't quite speak to the challenges and differences of raising a teen with anxiety.
If you have a teen who is cutting or engaging in self harm (burning, scratching, needle poking) then you need to get this book. Excellent resource for explaining the behavior (ie it's not usually about suicide), and ways for parents to respond and support. DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) is the gold standard for working with teens (and adults) who engage in significant self harm and/or have been doing it for a long time. If your child is seriously cutting themselves you need to find a therapist that specializes in DBT (I do not).