Psychological Armor for Kids: How can an adventure book empower children and make them safer?
“A spoonful of adventure makes the psychology go down,” according to Dr. Molly Barrow, author and psychotherapist. Just as Mary Poppins helped children take their medicine with a little sugar, Barrow uses exciting adventure books to embed subtle positive messages about building self-esteem. “Self-esteem is the single most important factor for the safety of a child. Parents and educators should concentrate their efforts on inspiring children to value their self-worth rather than over-disciplining them into compliance. High self-esteem is psychological armor for children.”
Dr. Barrow’s new fiction book for children, Malia and Teacup Awesome African Adventure (ISBN: 978-0-9825109-0-2 7/2009) for ages 9 and up, illustrates complicated problem solving and demonstrates how to “stay safe by staying strong.” Malia’s journey of self-discovery is fast-paced and a fun book to read, yet, the 325-page book with 31 illustrations contains hidden self-esteem building messages. Malia and Teacup Out on a Limb (ISBN: 978-0-9825109-1-9) is the younger version for 6-9 year olds. Sunshine State Young Readers Award Committee has nominated both books for the 2010 award that will be announced in April. The series introduces young readers to important life lessons through the comedic misadventures of Malia and her tiny poodle.
How a child values themselves is the first line of defense in dangerous situations against school bullies, predators, and abuse. “Prevention psychology is what we need now. Children must believe they deserve to be treated well,” says Barrow. Experts link low self-esteem with drug and alcohol use, rebellion, suicide and school dropouts. The book back pages and web site provide parents and teachers help with challenging discussion topics.
During the past twenty years counseling families, Dr. Barrow has used humorous storytelling to explain complicated therapy concepts to young children and troubled teenagers. Children responded so well to her stories utilizing the Barrow Empowerment Theory that Dr. Barrow created the Malia and Teacup books to reach more children. L. A. psychologist and author Gerald Amada says, “Exciting books with social and moral themes, like Malia and Teacup and Harry Potter do have the effect of improving self-esteem in children…and will become a part of the large corpus of children’s literature that fosters their emotional well-being.”