Archive for the ‘Perry, Bruce & Szalavitz, Maia’ Category

This is a wonderful book, though rather harrowing to read and I will purchase my own copy, if the NZ dollar pulls out of its nosedive sometime soon.

Bruce Perry is a US child psychiatrist and the book is an account of a succession of his cases, illustrating various forms of severe trauma suffered by children and his subsequent treatment of them.

There is the case from which the title of the book is derived – a boy who was raised in a dog cage; the Branch Davidian children (the Waco disaster); children who were sexually abused, children who were isolated and neglected and more.  Horrible achingly sad accounts of inhumane, cruel and neglectful treatment.  Not for the squeamish.

But for each of these cases, Bruce P. gives an account of how treatment made a difference, bringing hope and healing to shattered lives.  He provides a wealth of information, much of which goes against the grain of established opinion on such matters.  What perked my interest particularly, was the discussion on how neglect and abuse adversely affected these children neurologically.  To put it simply, abuse and neglect cause significant brain impairment in the growing child.

But, turn this information around (and Bruce P. Does) and we know that child neurological development is enhanced by love, loving touch, comfort,  stimulation, richness of environment, consistency, caring positive parenting.  All the things that my daughter (and I)  have been emphasising in positive parenting posts.

The accounts in this book are those for which these was success, (at least partly.)  Sadly, for every success story, there are many more whose lives continue to plummet into disaster.  Books like this, however provide a light, particularly for those of us who are working to help undo the damage.


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