A family counselor & psychotherapist teaches kids how to tame their frustration and how to deliver a proper apology in the Zach Rules series
Introducing Zach Apologizes and Zach Gets Frustrated, the first two books in the Zach Rules series written by William Mulcahy and illustrated by Darren McKee. In this series, seven-year-old Zach and his brothers learn how to work through everyday problems like getting along, social issues, and dealing with frustration. Family counselor and psychotherapist Mulcahy wrote the Zach Rules series to teach children social skills and provide practical coping tools for working through the issues that are typical of kids ages 5 to 8. These tools are visually represented in McKee’s illustrations.
The stories in the Zach Rules series are humorous and realistic (these boys are not angels). In Zach Apologizes, when Zach shoves his little brother to the floor, he knows he did something wrong. Even so, it’s hard to apologize—especially when he feels Alex kind of deserved it! With his mom’s help, Zach learns the “four-square apology”: 1) say what you did; 2) say how it made the other person feel; 3) say what you could have done instead; 4) make it up to the person.
In Zach Gets Frustrated, Zach is having a lousy day at the beach. Zach kicks sand, yells angry words, and asks his dad if they can just go home now. Instead, his dad teaches him the “frustration triangle”—a simple, three-step approach to get a handle on frustration: 1) name it; 2) tame it; 3) reframe it. Each book concludes with a short note to adults to help parents, teachers, counselors, and other grown-ups reinforce the books’ messages and practice the skills with their kids.
In creating these books, Mulcahy wanted to offer practical solutions that kids and their parents would actually use. The skills taught in the books are proven techniques that he uses daily in his counseling practice. “There are so few people who actually know how to apologize—most politicians, for example,” Mulcahy says. “Kids will benefit from learning these skills early on—and their parents might learn something from reading these books, too.”
Mulcahy is available for classroom visits in the Milwaukee area and via Skype to teach kids the messages of the Zach Rules books. He says, “My goal is to provide kids with a road map to building healthy relationships, because that’s what life is all about: relationships.”
Learn more about the Zach Rules series.