Karyn Purvis and her team at Texas Christian University bring a one-of-a-kind marriage of research and heart to treating "kids from hard places."
I first became aware of Dr. Purvis' work -- and this book -- because of my work with families who have adopted internationally. Internationally adopted children are from hard places for sure. So are other adopted children, foster children and children who have endured abuse, neglect, medical procedures, and being cared for by parents who were going through crisis at any point starting with pregnancy. Also kids who have been in car accidents, actual or near-miss weather disasters, or chronically dangerous neighborhoods.
Honestly, all parents need to know this stuff. I have yet to the meet the child who wouldn't benefit from Dr. Purvis' combination of incredible warmth with firm boundaries. And parents (and teachers, and grandparents, you get the idea) benefit too! Because raising children is hard. Kids are forever doing things we don't know how to react to. This book gives you a framework for knowing how to respond. Your life will be better! Your kids will be happier! You'll look younger! (hmmm. well, maybe not that last one, but you might feel younger).
In "The Connected Child," Dr. Purvis spells out the emotional, behavioral, nutritional, neurological, and sensory needs of sensitive kids and how to meet those needs. The book is easy to read and explains not just the how but also the why. It's not unusual for one parent to believe in taking this kind of approach while the other doesn't. They figure the kid just needs a good spanking, or talking to, or a complete lack of rules and structure, etc. They innocently believe that there's one "right" way to bring up kids. Dr. Purvis does a lovely job of explaining why that isn't so -- and backs it up with science.
I was incredibly fortunate to travel to TCU and train with Dr. Purvis and her team for a week last year. Her workshop is highly consistent with her methods: highly nurturing (seriously, the best workshop food I have ever hard) and highly structured (we started and ended on time, the rules and expectations were clear up front). She is consistent through and through and her research is impressive. She runs camps for kids and their families where they implement this style of interacting with children. Blood tests actually prove that this works in just a few weeks. You'll have to read the book to learn how that's even possible.
By the way, I also recommend this book for adults who are grown-up kids from hard places because it helps them understand the reactions they had (and might still be having) and provides a roadmap to the kind of care that brings about healing.
I believe you have to order the book online. It's cheap -- they don't make any money from it's sale. They just charge enough to cover publishing costs. So what are you waiting for? Really, I insist.