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Dec. 14, 2006 • Volume 15 Number 8

John Dacey

Dacey Co-Authors The Safe Child Handbook

By Patricia Delaney
Deputy Director of Public Affairs

In an age when parents and children are bombarded with images and stories of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, child abductions and school violence, it's no surprise that heightened efforts to protect the family are often accompanied by increased levels of anxiety and stress.

Parents and caregivers seeking to safeguard their children from the dangers of the modern world - without burning out in the process - can find a practical, comprehensive and easy-to-use resource in The Safe Child Handbook: How to Protect Your Family and Cope with Anxiety in a Threat-Filled World, written by Prof. Emeritus John Dacey (LSOE) and his former BC doctoral student Lisa B. Fiore, now of Lesley University.

The book outlines the top eight threats to children and parents - weather emergencies, kidnapping, terrorism, inappropriate media influence, drug and alcohol abuse, child abuse, school violence, home safety - and shows how families can be ready to face the most drastic situations with confidence.

A step-by-step guide filled with practical advice, helpful techniques and fun activities for children, The Safe Child Handbook is an invaluable tool for families seeking to prepare and protect their loved ones from realistic threats and risks without getting stressed out, say the authors.

"It can be as dangerous to over-protect your children as it is to do too little," says Dacey, a noted developmental psychologist and originator of the nationally acclaimed four-step "COPE" method that teaches children to use self-control to reduce anxiety. "If you try to protect your children from every imaginable threat, you'll only succeed in fraying and exhausting your nervous system - and theirs.

"Safeguarding against severe weather, school violence, terrorism and other dangers can evoke powerful anxieties that are potentially more injurious to children than the threats themselves," he says, "so you have to be prepared to deal with their fears as well as their protection."

Coping with a threat-filled world takes its toll on parents, as well. "Nearly 20 percent of today's mothers are estimated to be suffering from serious levels of anxiety," Dacey says. "We want to help readers avoid membership in this group."

Dacey, who has taught educational psychology at the Lynch School of Education for 40 years, is the author of numerous publications on parenting, creativity, adolescent psychology and human development, notably the books The Nurturing Parent: How to Raise Creative, Loving, Responsible Children and The Joyful Family, written with Lynne Weygint.

For more information about The Safe Child Handbook, see Dacey's web site.

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