The Connected Child – Adoption and Foster Care Book Review

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From the Cover of The Connected Child by Karen Purvis, Ph.D., David Cross, Ph.D., and Wendy Lyons Sunshine:

“The adoption of a child is always a joyous moment in the life of a family. Some adoptions, though, present unique challenges. Welcoming these children into your family—and addressing their special needs—requires care, consideration, and compassion.

Written by two research psychologists specializing in adoption and attachment, The Connected Child will help you:

  • Build bonds of affection and trust with your adopted child
  • Effectively deal with any learning or behavioral disorders
  • Discipline your child with love without making him or her feel threatened”

Grade:

5 hoots out of 5

Transfiguring Adoption awarded this book 5 Hoots out of 5 based on how useful it will be for a foster/adoptive family. [Learn more about our Hoot grading system here]

What We Thought:

This book comes from decades of experience working with foster and adoptive children around the world. It helps families learn how to connect with their children and deal with special needs. We highly recommend any materials by Dr. Purvis and Dr. Cross, including this book, DVDs, and conferences.

This book should be on the shelves of every foster and adoptive home for several reasons:

  • Practical advice and strategies – The strategies in this book are easy to implement, though many take a change in mindset. Parents will likely have to work on one strategy at a time until they become habit, rather than trying to change everything at once.
  • Simple scripts to use with your children when you are at your wit’s end – When we lecture our kids in our anger or frustration, they tune us out and stop learning. The Connected Child gives simple, short scripts for you to repeat that become like mantras with your children. I recently reread the book and put a note in my phone with all the scripts for me to reference. Opening up the note gives me a few seconds to breathe and regulate my own emotions, and then I have the words I need to deescalate the situation and get a kiddo back on the right track to succeed.  
  • Easy to understand explanations of the science behind the challenges facing foster and adoptive children – This book explains in every day language what sets the brains—learning, connecting, and behaving—of foster and adoptive children apart from those of their peers and gives parents insight on how to work around these differences.
  • Explanations for why typical parenting and discipline techniques do not work – Foster and adoptive parenting is not parenting as usual, and our children do not respond to the same techniques that biological children do. The Connected Child explains why and gives alternative strategies.
  • Tips for everything from nutrition, medications, therapy, daily schedules, rules, discipline, school issues, teaching life skills, self-care, and much more
  • Extensive table of contents makes it easy to quickly reference needed information – The table of contents not only lists chapter titles, but it also shows all the subheadings in each chapter, making it a great reference without having to thumb through page after page to find the topic you need in the moment.
  • Self evaluations for parents to determine how they need to change their parenting – There are quizzes, checklists, and lists of reflection questions for parents to seriously examine their own parenting and attachment styles and how day-to-day interactions with their children are going.

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It’s Your Turn:

Share your thoughts and experiences with others here!

  1. What strategy from this book will you implement immediately?
  2. What strategy do you think will be most difficult to implement?
  3. What scripts do you find most helpful for your child?
  4. What was your result from the parenting quiz on p. 169?
  5. Is a checklist like the one of page 216 helpful for you to evaluate your parenting?
  6. Where do you think your child is on the levels of care on page 217?
  7. What did you learn about the role nurturing plays in your life from the questions on page 222?
  8. How do you refill your bucket?

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