Your AQ (ANXIETY QUOTIENT)

Find your Anxiety Quotient

To calculate your level of anxiety over threats to your family, decide which of the four categories best describes how each of the following statements is like you (it doesn't have to be something you actually do, it just has to be something that sounds like your values). VLM = very like me, LM = like me, NLM = not like me, and VUM = very unlike me. When you have picked the category that best describes your attitude toward the statement, write that number in the box under TS (for total score). For example, if the statement in statement 2 is like you, put a 2 in the TS box on that line. When you are done, add up your total score.

Statements

VLM

LM

NLM

VUM

TS

1. I believe my child should be seated in the safest place in the classroom.

4

3

2

1

 

2. I would let my 10-year-old son go on a scout campout in winter if I were confident the leader would pay attention to weather and other dangers.

1

2

3

4

 

3. It would be a good idea to get plans for making a chemical safe room in my house in case of a germ warfare attack.

4

3

2

1

 

4. Before I open the door of my car at night, I look in the back seat with the flashlight that I carry with me.

4

3

2

1

 

5. I would buy a computer program that would let me monitor my 15-year-old daughter’s incoming and outgoing emails.

4

3

2

1

 

6. I would allow my 13-year-old son to take the train into town to go shopping if he’s with a friend.

1

2

3

4

 

7. I believe that storing gallons and gallons of bottled water is really quite unnecessary.

1

2

3

4

 

8. I have no idea how the electrical system in our house works.

1

2

3

4

 

9. I would absolutely monitor my daughter’s diary if I thought she might be doing something that would compromise her safety.

4

3

2

1

 

10. On rare occasions, I have ducked into a store while one of the kids was sitting in the car.

1

2

3

4

 

11. I really feel that most movie moguls out to be ashamed of themselves.

4

3

2

1

 

12. I am absolutely certain that I know what movies my children are seeing.

4

3

2

1

 

13. I think it just makes sense to avoid people who have a foreign appearance.

4

3

2

1

 

14. I have no fear of attending events that are crowded.

1

2

3

4

 

15. I would be happy if my children never took a single drink their whole lives.

4

3

2

1

 

16. I am against all the bans on alcohol advertising – they are anti-capitalistic and anti-American.

1

2

3

4

 

17. I have a lot of doubts about the ability of schools to keep our kids safe.

4

3

2

1

 

18. One of the greatest dangers our children face today is from drug dealers.

4

3

2

1

 

19. The violence in videogames like Grand Theft Auto is no worse than kids see on television every night of the week.

1

2

3

4

 

20. Most teachers have no idea of how to deal with violent students.

4

3

2

1

 

21. You are more likely to get hit by lightning that you are to by injured in a terrorist attack.

1

2

3

4

 

The lowest possible score, 21, indicates that you are probably a rather relaxed, non-worrying person. The highest score, 84, indicates that you're quite anxious about the dangers in the world. If your score is above 42, we recommend that you seriously consider carrying out as many of the activities offered in each chapter as you and your family can.

You may also want to check on your level of anxiety for each of the threats to safety. You can compile that score by adding up your numbers by threat type. For home safety, look at numbers 3, 7, and 8. For terrorism, 13, 14 and 21; for school violence, 1, 17, and 20; for media influence, 11, 12, and 19; for drugs and alcohol, 15, 16 and 18; for child abuse, 2, 5, and 9; and for abduction, 4, 6 and 10.

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

Whether your score on the AQ Test is moderate or astronomical, our recommendation is the same. If you and your family hope to confront the seven threats successfully (and if you as the mother want to handle the societal pressures we described), you must achieve three goals:

  1. You must make certain that your family has taken all reasonable precautions to protect yourselves in each of the seven areas. This book will inform you about the present level of threat in each case, and will teach you precisely how to protect yourselves according to the advice of the best experts.
     
    However, many of the people we have interviewed and counseled have tried so hard to protect their children that they have actually made their situations more stressful (remember Margaret's story at the beginning of this chapter?). Therefore you also need to recognize that keeping your family safe can be an all consuming task. You will need to know where to draw the line and where to strike a balance. Therefore, we will point out the kinds of actions that experts consider excessive as well.
  2. Over time, working to strengthen the family's safety will reduce each member's level of fear. In the short run, however, it is likely to evoke strong emotions. Involving children in safety plans often makes them more fearful, as they become more aware of the many dangers that exist. In children who already have a proclivity toward anxiety, safety planning will doubtless cause an even stronger fear reaction. Therefore we have provided a series of techniques that are designed to help alleviate fear, in children and in teens, and we are tailoring the exercises for each step to apply to a threat area. These anti-anxiety exercises will help your kids avoid becoming overwhelmed by the family's preparations. You will find them in Chapter Ten. We urge you to dip into this chapter as you make your safety preparations. Please don't wait to avail your family of these techniques until you have completed your safety arrangements. Your children are likely to benefit from them most if they are carried out from time to time as you do this work.
  3. You and your partner are likely to be experience some anxiety as a result of this work as well. Thus we have also devised a series of powerful activities you can use to allay your own fears and to build family cohesion. This third aspect of our approach is essential, since parents' fears almost always exacerbate those of their children. These adult activities may be found in Chapter Eleven. As with the child-oriented activities, we urge you to refer to Chapter Eleven from time to time, especially if you and/or your partner experience anxious reactions to this work.

John S. Dacey, Ph.D. & Lisa B Fiore, Ph.D © 2006