Through the magic of Twitter, I recently connected with Ann Douglas. She's the author of several books, including The Mother of All Parenting Books and The Mother of All Baby Books. Ann is a mother, speaker, and an award-winning writer. She's a valuable resource for parents, and she has helped and inspired hundreds of thousands of parents over the course of her career. I'm grateful to have made her digital acquaintance, and I was eager to read her newest book.
What I'm Reading
I read this book while completing the third installment of my program for foster and adoptive therapy. I was pleased to find that Douglas's advice paralleled the research and data on best practices for children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, trauma, and attachment issues. All of the information in this book is absolutely invaluable to families, particularly those who feel disempowered and overwhelmed. Douglas's approach to supporting families is compassionate, pragmatic, and immediately applicable.
"Children whose feelings are validated learn that they are capable of coping with their feelings, even the painful ones, and that feelings are temporary. They also learn that feelings are valuable sources of information - they serve as our emotional radar - which is why we don't want to drive our feelings underground. Every feeling is a valid feeling, and we can learn to recognize and manage those feelings in ways that work for, not against, us" (Page 103).
"Of course, many behavioral problems can be avoided if an adult stops to consider the child's needs (there is logic behind every behavior) and then works with the child to find ways of getting those needs met in ways other than resorting to inappropriate behavior. This approach is significantly different from relying on rewards and punishments - strategies that often trigger more disruptive behavior" (Page 182).
"When a child is learning to walk, there are a lot of tumbles before he learns how to make his way across the room with ease. And yet many people are surprised or even disappointed when a person who is living with a mental illness encounters a setback" (Page 216).