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The Boston Globe

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First Person

Donna Pincus on reducing children’s anxiety and fears

In her new book, ‘Growing Up Brave,’ the Boston University professor says certain parenting styles can actually encourage problems.

There’s a difference between feeling some anxiety and having an anxiety disorder. Ninety percent of kids can identify having a couple of fears. IT’S NORMAL FOR INFANTS TO FEAR STRANGERS, for preschoolers to fear monsters. Most adults recall fearing something as a child, and they didn’t get treatment — it just went away.

I called my book Growing Up Brave because it’s about teaching a child that fear is just a natural human emotion, that you can do a lot of things, even if you feel a little uncomfortable. ANXIETY CAN BE HELPFUL. It helps us perform better on a test; it makes us more alert.

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