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Understanding Myself: A Kid's Guide to Intense Emotions and Strong Feelings

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Facile pop-psychology from a clinical psychologist with the credentials to know better. Assigning a chapter each to a select range of feelings—nearly all of them painful or negative ones, such as guilt, fear or anger, with but one shorter chapter allotted to the likes of love and joy—Lamia offers generalizations about what emotional responses look and feel like, typical circumstances that might cause them to arise and superficial insights ("Negative or worried thoughts spoil a good mood"). She also offers bland palliative suggestions ("Forgive yourself and move on"), self-quizzes, sound-bite comments in the margins from young people and, in colored boxes labeled "Psych Notes," relevant research abstracts from cited but hard-to-obtain professional sources. Aside from a mildly discouraging view of "Infatuation," she isn't judgmental or prescriptive, but her overview is so cursory that she skips the stages of grief, makes no distinction between disgust and contempt and barely takes notice of depression. Teens and preteens might come away slightly more self-aware, but they won't find either motivation or tools to help them cope with major upset.(Self-help)
Kirkus Reviews
Facile pop-psychology from a clinical psychologist with the credentials to know better. Assigning a chapter each to a select range of feelings—nearly all of them painful or negative ones, such as guilt, fear or anger, with but one shorter chapter allotted to the likes of love and joy—Lamia offers generalizations about what emotional responses look and feel like, typical circumstances that might cause them to arise and superficial insights ("Negative or worried thoughts spoil a good mood"). She also offers bland palliative suggestions ("Forgive yourself and move on"), self-quizzes, sound-bite comments in the margins from young people and, in colored boxes labeled "Psych Notes," relevant research abstracts from cited but hard-to-obtain professional sources. Aside from a mildly discouraging view of "Infatuation," she isn't judgmental or prescriptive, but her overview is so cursory that she skips the stages of grief, makes no distinction between disgust and contempt and barely takes notice of depression. Teens and preteens might come away slightly more self-aware, but they won't find either motivation or tools to help them cope with major upset.(Self-help. 12-16)
Children's Literature - Alison F. Solove
Chock full of useful information, Lamia's book carefully explains the diversity of human emotion. In the introduction, she observes that emotions are not positive or negative. Instead, all emotions, when correctly understood, equip kids and adults to deal with the world around them. Adolescents will be sure to feel more confident dealing with the world around them—and with their own complex emotions—after reading this book. Lamia carefully explains each family of feelings, including self-conscious, threatened, gloomy, elated, and stormy. Instead of encouraging readers to suppress their emotions, she provides helpful solutions that encourage personal growth. For example, preteens who feel anxious might want to try talking to a trusted friend, taking a warm shower, or organizing their rooms. Lamia also encourages kids to seek help if feelings of anxiety, anger, or obsession make them feel out of control. Each chapter includes several "Psych Notes!" sections which summarize real psychological research, making clinical studies relevant and accessible to 8- to 13-year-olds. Interesting quizzes scattered throughout the book also help make the material interesting and relevant to readers' lives. While many curious readers will appreciate Lamia's frank tone and adult vocabulary, some may be intimidated by words like "cognitively" or "physiologically," even after Lamia defines them. The book also lacks an index or glossary, both of which would make it more accessible and more useful for research. Overall, though, Lamia provides an excellent resource for preteens learning to cope with the complexity of teenage and adult emotions. Reviewer: Alison F. Solove
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781433808906
  • Publisher: American Psychological Association
  • Publication date: 11/28/2010
  • Pages: 111
  • Sales rank: 243,287
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.30 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An Important Addition to the Discovery of Self for Young People

    UNDERSTANDING MYSELF: A Kid's guide to intense emotions and strong feelings' by Berkeley clinical psychologist/psychoanalyst Mary C. Lamia, PhD is a brave undertaking. As the adult reader takes the time to read this book the first reaction is that the information in the book may just be too advanced for the suggested age 8 to 13 category of young people. And there is a strong hint there that Dr. Lamia doesn't nee to make apparent: if this information seems too sensitive for kids then the adult reader needs some introspection and possible work on their own! Dr. Lamia takes on the field of emotions - that inner aspect of human behavior that in many ways determines juts how effective we will be in dealing with the world. She simply believes that if young people get an early start on appreciating those aspects of the mind that have little to do with school performance but MUCH to do with social interaction and self understanding, then the opening of the door to mental health as they mature will be a more informed process. The book is divided into seven parts: Feeling Your Emotions in which the science of emotions (yes!) leads to definitions of moods, emotions, feelings; Felling Self-Conscious deals with the concepts of embarrassment, guilt, shame, and pride; Feeling Threatened discusses anxiety, fear and disgust; Feeling Gloomy addresses loneliness, sadness and grief; Feeling Elated explores excitement/joy/happiness and love/infatuation; and Felling Stormy explains anger and envy/jealousy. Each of these topics are first defined so that the reader hears from an expert just what those emotions really are, examples are given, tests are available, and Psych Notes are offered. All of this information is dealt with in a warm supportive manner, bringing the young person up to speed with the terminology as well as the etiology and repercussions and benefits of understanding the beginnings of emotions and how comfortable to incorporate this knowledge in finding a happier path of living. This book may be created for ages 8 through 13, but after reading UNDERSTANDING MYSELF cover to cover it seems to this reader that the book would well serve the high school and college student - as well as the adults among us who still remain in the dark about these important concepts. Look for this book to garner awards on many levels. It is published by the MAGINATION PRESS under the auspices of the American Psychological Association. That backing, as well as the personal impact of Dr. Lamia, should make this book a part of every family's library. Grady Harp

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