Saturday, 9 April 2011

An effective, internationally acclaimed method, for helping children overcome fears and common problems.

Is your child facing a challenge they are finding difficult to cope with?

Is your child anxious or finding it hard to deal with stresses?

Have you tried talking to your child, explaining the situation, giving them sensible advice?

Have you found that they don’t listen to you, they switch off, get uncomfortable, or get irritated at you for interfering?

Are you at a loss for what to do and how to help them?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then Annie Stories is the help you have been looking for.

“Every parent should read it. Enjoyable, valuable! Lots of concrete examples. Helping children deal with difficult situations in a non-threatening, creative way. It offers a simple, healing technique anyone can use. I found it a joy to read, and have recommended it many times. Enjoy!” – Judith Waite Allee, co-author of Homeschooling on a Shoestring.

Annie Stories was developed by one of Australia’s leading clinical psychologists, Dr Doris Brett. Many years ago, in response to her own daughter’s anxiety about starting kindergarten, she developed a simple technique which parents can use to help their child work through the fears or problems they are facing. This technique is ‘Annie Stories’, a powerfully beneficial method, acclaimed by experts world-wide, which enables children to deal with their fears and anxieties and to overcome them.

Annie Stories have assisted parents from all over the world to help their child manage fears and anxieties and lead a happier life.

“An indispensible tool for all parents” – Valley Magazine – Los Angeles.

So what exactly are Annie Stories?

When children are distressed, frightened ashamed or worried, sitting them down for a heart-to-heart talk or lecture often has no effect. Children switch off at lectures - they often feel threatened, judged, shamed, unable to enunciate or even conceptualise their anxieties.

However, if you sit them down and tell them a story about a child who is just like them, with problems just like theirs and, the story goes on to tell what that child did about the problem, how the child felt, coped and so forth, they will be all ears.

Annie Stories are therapeutic stories aimed at helping your child work through, or find solutions to, his or her problems. In the stories, the hero or heroine has a similar problem to your child’s and finds a way of dealing with it and understanding it.

“I used an Annie Story to help my son overcome his fear of dogs – the difference in him has been incredible!” – Sue Armstrong.

The stories originated when Dr Brett’s daughter was a shy four year-old worried about starting kindergarten. Her name was Amantha and so the heroine of her stories was Annie, a name very like hers but not hers. Dr Brett started to teach her clients the techniques and was startled to discover that there weren’t any books about therapeutic storytelling for children and thus, Annie Stories was born. It has since been published and used by many parents and therapists all over the world.

“Many parents, especially those insecure about their own storytelling skills, will find Brett’s method effective and valuable” – Publishers Weekly, USA.

The book teaches you how to create stories specifically for your child or to modify the stories in the book. Some parents prefer to just read the story as it is to their child. As you tell or read the stories, you can add or subtract details so as to make the stories resemble your own child’s situation and problem. These stories are an extremely effective way of helping your child cope with difficult situations or problems.

“An excellent resource that shows how brief but poignant made-up stories can help children cope with a variety of real or anticipated loss situations” - Nancy Boyd Webb, author of Helping Bereaved Children (2nd ed.): A handbook for practitioners.

Why are Annie Stories so effective at helping children overcome their problems and fears?

There are several reasons why Annie Stories are so effective.

Reason #1: The story enables your child to think about and confront his or her problems in a way that is not threatening. Your child is not being lectured at, accused or pressured to talk about difficulties – they are simply listening to a story about a little girl or boy just like themselves. It is like getting advice through the ‘My friend John has a problem...’ technique.

Reason #2: Your child will recognise that they are not alone in their fears or feelings. They will see that other children feel like this too. This is immensely reassuring for a child.

Reason #3: Your child will feel ‘understood’ by the person telling the story - and between parent and child, this is a very comforting feeling.

Reason #4: Your child will realise that there are ways of coping with their problem. They can use Annie’s successful coping as a model for their own. It gives them hope. If this little girl (or boy) who is so similar to themselves can cope, maybe they can too.

Reason #5: The child is able to learn new skills and strategies from hearing about Annie’s skills and strategies.

Reason #6: Your child is given a good old-fashioned dose of the loving intimacy of a bedtime story. This in itself is strengthening and comforting for both the parent and the child.

Reason #7: The child is not being lectured at. Children don't learn well through lectures.

Reason #8: Your child is free to connect the story to their own situation when they are ready to do so. It is not prematurely forced upon them before they are ready to deal with it.

Reason #9: The child is helped because you, as a parent, are helped to feel more confident in the face of your child’s distress. It is relieving for parents to know that there is a simple and natural technique they can use which really will help their child. Your increased confidence will also be very reassuring for your child.

Reason #10: The stories provide a vehicle for two-way communication with the child. The child is able to contribute his or her own ideas by joining in the story. They are able to use it to express thoughts that they might not be able to directly attribute to themselves and also to ask questions.

“Brett in her intelligent series of fables for our time, strikes just the right note” – Los Angeles Times.

“A particularly fine book” – John Gottman, Joan Declaire, and Daniel Goleman in Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child

For children whose problems seem particularly severe or do not resolve with time, consultation with a therapist is advisable. Severe or sustained periods of depression, withdrawal or aggressive acting-out may also be an indication that professional help is needed. It is also advisable to have your child checked out by a paediatrician or physician. Many of the symptoms of anxiety such as dizziness, headaches and stomach aches may also be the symptoms of physical illness too.

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