When it comes to trauma, we can never be too informed as foster and adoptive parents. Reading books about trauma can help us to frame our children’s behavior and struggles in a new way. It helps us approach them with compassion and kindness because we have a better understanding of where they have been and how that impacts their brains and behaviors.
Here are three books that we believe help us better understand trauma, how it impacts the brain, and how we can best parent and help our children.
The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, by Dr. Bruce D. Perry and Maia Szalavitz, is a book about a psychologist who has researched, studied, and worked with children who have faced significant trauma. He explains how trauma impacts the brain through storytelling and personal experience, and he shows how this should impact the ways in which we treat and parent children who have experienced trauma.
To say that The Body Keeps The Score fundamentally changed my view of the world would be an understatement. Dr. Van Der Kolk is one of the world’s leading experts on trauma and he shares from his decades of experience working with people who have survived trauma. He shares how trauma compromises brain development and makes it difficult to have intimate relationships. He shines a light on how trauma creates a chronic vigilance and sensitivity for threat. He also tells the other side of the story, that there is hope. That healing is possible. You will learn about varied therapies and how people can process their stories and heal in The Body Keeps The Score.
Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson have done it again. With the same easy-to-read style that they explained neuroscience in The Whole-Brain Child, they help us understand attachment in The Power of Showing Up. One of the best predictors of our children’s ability to have meaningful relationships is if they have one adult consistently show up for them. Showing up doesn’t require a lot of time or money, it is simply about the quality of the time we spend with our children. The Power of Showing Up is a must-read for any parent who wants to connect with their child by having them feel safe, seen, soothed, and secure.
We hope these resources are helpful to you as you navigate parenting through trauma. Be encouraged; healing is possible!