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Question: As one who read the book, how do you rate this book?
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Author Topic: An Umbrella for Alex - Rachel Rashkin, MS  (Read 13303 times)
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« on: April 06, 2007, 10:01:16 AM »

An Umbrella for Alex
Author: Rachel Rashkin, MS
Publisher: Personality Disorders Awareness Network (2007)
Paperback: 16 pages
ISBN-10: 1427602980
ISBN-13: 978-1427602985




Book Description
Emotionally abused children grow up with significantly altered perceptions so that they "see" behaviors—their own and others'—through a filter of distortion. Many emotionally abused children engage in a lifelong drive for the approval (which they translate as "love" of others. So eager are they for love—and so convinced that they don't deserve it—that they are prime candidates for abuse within intimate relationships.   An Umbrella for Alex tells the story of how a young boy learns to understand and cope with his mother’s BPD illness.  Written to be read with a therapist or parent, the book reassures affected children that they did not cause and are not responsible for a BPD parent’s volatile behavior.

The Author
Rachel Rashkin has an M.S. child development from the Erikson Institute for Child Development and is currently pursuing doctoral studies in Clinical Psychology. Her professional interests include parent-child relationships, trauma, transitions and identity development throughout the lifespan. She is the author of "Feeling Better," a book for children entering psychotherapy.  She is also the author of an upcoming book that tackles the issue of obesity in children. In her spare time, she performs in musical theater and has taught music and movement for young children. Rachel lives in Chicago.
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Rachel Rashkin
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2007, 10:48:31 AM »

I feel honored and privileged that PDAN has published this short story of hope and healing. After working with children living in stressful home environments, I discovered many children had difficulty finding words to put to their experiences. Children feel empowered when they hear the voices of other children and books are a wonderful tool to facilitate that empowerment. The primary message of "An Umbrella for Alex" is: "You're not alone, you didn't cause this and you can't make it go away, but you *can* cope." The book includes several interactive questions in an attempt to facilitate dialogue between kids and adults rather than it simply being a story.

Similar to my first book, "Feeling Better", this book helps normalize the process of therapy so that kids feel proud for working through their thoughts, feelings and behaviors and not ashamed, bad or weak.  As with all my children's books, my primary motivation is to reach out to children and offer them some sense of hope that they are not alone and have the ability to work through their painful experiences.

Rachel Rashkin, MS
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« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2007, 11:18:03 PM »

I love the fact that in reinforces at 2 or 3 diff points that we as children don't cause our parents moods and that we can't control them. It is written in a very easy style for kids 9-12 to understand. Hell, it had me going "yep" or 'dead on" at a lot of points. I have read it 5 times now (no lie). What really gets me is page 10 where Alex talks about his mom being in bed all day and how his dad tells him it's not his fault. While my dad never directly said it was my fault he sure didn't go out of his way to tell me it wasn't. He'd try and get us to do special stuff for her to "make her feel better." It never worked and I was left with feeling like I couldn't make her happy... .:'(  

Anyway, this is a great book. I would suggest that for families with a BP parent that each kid get his own copy. That way it's handy for the hard times when we just want something ON PAPER, CONCRETE that says it isn't our fault. It can be their own touchstone where they can add thoughts to the pages or stuff like that. PDAN did a great jpb and I hope it's the start of more good things to come. 
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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2007, 12:52:18 PM »

I was told mine was shipped so being in Canada it may take a couple days longer.

I want to read it with my kids and now I am even more excited. Thanks for sharing how you felt about it.

I am working as hard as I can to diminish the effect of a BPD father on my kids and any tools I can get are so helpful. Books are a great way to start dialogue.

I am also interested from the perspective of how this will make me feel after so much realization about my own FOO.

Thanks again

Peace
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« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2007, 12:16:46 PM »

It does not specifically say BPD.  It talks about moods, healthy ones and not so healthy ones.  The boy in the book explains that "My mom has unpredictable moods." And that she has a hard time controlling what mood she will be in each day.

Again, great book for children who have a low functioning BPD mom. Unfortunately in our case, SS's uBPD mom is high functioning.  I wish someone would write a children's book about HF BPD's that includes extreme manipulation & guilt.  Of course a book explaining that your mom is a supreme bull-___ter may not go over too well.
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« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2007, 01:14:02 PM »

And, in all fairness, another book depicting the moody parent as the father.  This is not a mothers-only mental illness.  Also, there is a wide range in behaviors between low functioning Borderline parents and high functioning, near invisible Borderlines.  (But I must admit the momsters to seem to cause so much anguish and turmoil yet are still given the most consideration and have little accountability and face few consequences in the court system.)

It's 16 pages.  Perhaps it could be doubled in size and have Part 1 for moody moms, and Part B for moody dads?
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« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2007, 08:43:28 AM »

Just a side child development note, even if you child is under the suggested age of 9, you can read it to him or her. Even babies can associate the calmness and clarity from the parent reading this explanation with strength and understanding. At a younger age, it’s almost a subconscious associate, but they can grow up knowing that they did nothing wrong in the face of an angry mentally ill parent.
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« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2009, 04:55:21 PM »

I was initially happy to find this book on Amazon, wanting to have something I could give to my grandchildren. First I must say I'm disappointed in the overall quality of the book - it's more like a pamphlet, and only 15 pages long which makes it fairly pricey for what you get. (The pages are numbered beginning with the title page through to the end resources page, perhaps to bulk up how many pages they can claim it is.) The description "and the absence of the term "Borderline Personality Disorder" in it makes the book available to a wider audience, specifically those children whose mother or father has been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder or other mental illness" is very misleading. It was the reason I bought the book, but in fact pages 19-21 are all about BPD and other mental illnesses. There is no way I'll be able to give this to my grandchildren! Their BPD mother would likely rip it to shreds, burn it, or throw it away without ever even reading it to them. Their dad only follows orders from her, so this will never make it to the children. I wish the info on Borderline & other illnesses was left out as stated. It's even on the back cover, so tearing it out isn't an option, and right on the front cover: "Personality Disorder Awareness Network"! How is that discreet? I'll be returning this book.
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« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2009, 11:16:34 AM »

Is this book appropriate for a 5-year old... .website says 6+, review says 4+... .just wondering if any of the people on this board have thoughts on this book as it relates to a young child.

Our situation is that we have BF's S5 every other weekend.  His mom is diagnosed BPD, and seems to be functioning less and less well.  (She just moved out of a house that she rented after 3 months there).  Sometimes the child seems moody and says inappropriate things.  We have no idea what his home life is like... .but if it is anything like what BF went through, it isn't good.

I like reading him stories with "messages" and "lessons."  We had a faulty fire alarm in our building and I used the expression "cry wolf."  He didn't get the reference, so I found the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf online and read it to him.  Then I bought a book of Aesop's fables to read to him... . Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2009, 01:11:37 PM »

As I start new chapter in life with boys and stbxdBPDw I ordered the book through PDAN... .

It is meant for children probably 5-7, but I can adapt for my younger ones... .would be especially helpful if mom is raging, reassures children that they did not cause and gives useful coping techniques.

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« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2011, 08:43:56 AM »

Mu wife is undiagnosed. I wonder if this book mentions BPD or does it just contain generalised common sense advice suitable for all children?

I don't want to get in trouble with the courts, custody evaluator for trying to alienate the children to their Mom.

I would just like to give them some coping and survival skills.

MJJ
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« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2011, 10:44:09 AM »

Javajoe... That is EXACTLY what it does... it is very tactful.It has questions in it for you to sit and discuss with the child... It helps them cope... .it does not say BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER...
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« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2011, 01:06:44 PM »

 Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

I really appreciate your comments.

Than you
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« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2011, 10:44:28 PM »

I liked the book so much that I ordered multiple copies and donated them to my skids therapists office - which is a childs wellness centre.

They were very appreciative and have ordered more themselves to give to each of their therapists for their libraries!

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« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2011, 04:21:15 PM »

I ordered 2 copies and will be sending one to the child T that does family therapy with my gd6 and I. She has been there for me as DD was evicted from out home in Nov2009 and I was at a loss how to deal with talking to gd about this (she was 4 at the time). It is so great to have someone that I can call when things are not going well that can talk to me on the phone and remind of what I need to do - that I have to skills and tools and how I can access them once again.

I got this book last week and read it with gd last night. Well we started it the night before, and she wanted to read something else after a couple pages. THen last night she said OK, and really paid attention to the story. She even talked about the questions posed throughout the book - telling me quite clearly how she is feeling in our family and about DD25 right now.

Gd has been acting out - very defiant and angry. Some of this was the anxiety of starting 1st grade - some of it from my being conflicted about some things with DD25 being in our home and pushing on some of our boundaries - some of it DD shift of focus to new SO type of male friend that she has brought in to our home (ie. boundary of no overnight guests when they arrive at bedtime and have to be told to leave).

This book is a great way to open a quiet conversation with gd about how she is feeling and how she can keep herself feeling safe. She came up with some of the same ideas - like playing with a friend, playing in her room, going outside to play in backyard - when things are 'cloudy' or 'stormy' inside the house - even before we got to that page of the story. I hope she can pull this book out when she feels a need to talk and doesn't know how to start. Or I can pull it out occasionally to give her a chance to talk about her feelings. If anyone has other child book suggestions I would really appreciate knowing them.

We are having a great day today - and gd is singing as she plays again and coming in when it is time without arguing. The book helped, and the T reminding me to be careful to stick to our routines that have worked before. Most important is for me to be in a calm quiet mental place - ie. taking care of myself and letting go of DD's stuff. DH has been reminding of this as well - it has just been so hard to stop ruminating about stuff. But am doing much better today.

sorry this got off topic a little.

qcr xoxo
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« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2013, 02:56:02 PM »

I have just ordered this book from my local library and am going to read it with my 10 year old daughter to help her understand her dads condition and his moods, hope it helps  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2013, 03:36:03 PM »

I bought this book for my grandchildren aged 6 and 4.  The concept is a little old for them to understand and the book doesn't contain the lavish pictures that they are used to in reading books, so it has been relegated to the shelf for when they are older.  It's also difficult to know how they would atke to it, as their Daddy left and they have never heard from him since - he was the one who was stabilising things for them.
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