What traumatized children can teach us about loss, love, and healing.
What happens when a young child is traumatized? How does terror affect a child's mind---and how can that mind recover? Child psychiatrist Bruce Perry has treated children faced with unimaginable horror: genocide survivors, witnesses to their own parents' murders, children raised in closets and cages, the Branch Davidian children, and victims of family violence. In The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, he tells their stories of trauma and transformation. Dr. Perry clearly explains what happens to the brain when children are exposed to extreme stress. He reveals his innovative methods for helping to ease their pain, allowing them to become healthy adults. This deeply informed and moving book dramatically demonstrates that only when we understand the science of the mind can we hope to heal the spirit of even the most wounded child.
©2007 Bruce Duncan Perry and Maia Szalavitz (P)2011 Tantor
"Readable, informative about the workings of language, memory, trust, and choice, and ultimately optimistic---while critical of a society that exudes violence and ignores prevention---this book demands and deserves attention from parents, educators, policymakers, courts, and therapists. Highly recommended." (Library Journal Starred Review)
As a sixth grade teacher, I have had (over many years) a few children with whom I simply could not connect. These children have usually had some kind of traumatic back-story. Either they had been in an orphanage where they were given food and kept clean, but did not receive love, or they had come from a family with dysfunction written all over it.
It is so clear to me, after reading this book, that these children were all suffering from early childhood deficiencies in love and attention. This book will change the way I attend to children who present with the same behaviors in the future. I honestly feel that this book (and the information in it) has changed my life.
The narrator does an excellent job. The writing, which is written as case studies so the listener cares about the child and his/her family, is very clear, easy to understand, and very enjoyable. I listened to the whole book in about 4-5 days, then I reread it again, in case I missed anything. ( I hope that doesn't cost any more!)
If you deal with children as a parent, a relative, a caregiver, a teacher, or a therapist, I think you will inhale this book and never let it out. It was absolutely wonderful.
This book consists of stories of incredible abuse and victimization of children interspersed with Dr. Perry's insights into what children need to feel loved and treasured while they grow up. The situations of the children are heart-breaking, but Dr. Perry humanizes what can be. His descriptions of the therapy he has provided are vivid and interesting; it made me wish all hurt children could see him. He reads the book very well. I gained a lot of insight, and I read the paper and watch the news differently since I have listened to this book. I don't want to make it seem dry in any way--I was sorry when it ended.
I am a therapist working with children and adolescents who have been exposed to trauma, loss and neglect. This is one of the best books to explain how these pervasive conditions affect children. I recommend this book to parents, students and pretty much anyone who will listen to me. Bruce Perry and the Child Trauma Academy are doing some amazing work on the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics. Many times I see children presenting to therapists with behavior issues and instead of looking for a trauma history and working on the real issues, therapists try to treat the symptoms (behavior) and labels the children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. This continues the message to the child that he/she is is "bad" and the symptoms increase instead of decrease.
I had this book on my wish list for a long time not sure if I should get it or not. I was afraid that the book would be graphic like "Sybil" or "The Burning Bed". It's not. It's very insightful.
Dr. Perry is very good at explaining the cycle of abuse and neglect. He is vary compassionate about the children's stories At the same time he also shows compassion for the abusers and puts the emphases of child rearing not just on the parents, but the extended family and community.
It takes a community to raise a child.
I listened to this book over two days, and at the end of it I felt pretty depressed. The many stories of neglect, abuse and trauma were overwhelming, but I could not stop listening, and alternately felt anger, disbelief, sadness and hope.
The brain science, I admit, went over my head in several places, but the ultimate message of the book (that relationships are the agents of change) rang true. The final hour or so is a plea for stronger communities, better support for families and education about children and their development, cooperation over competition, and a parenting style that allows kids to take risks, make decisions and experience the world.
The authors' theory that solid relationships can go a long way to preventing problems, or fixing them once they've happened, makes a lot of sense to me. And I appreciate that while medications are sometimes necessary for these kids, they are by no means the most important part of their therapy. The authors also reject the notion that we are all slaves to our genes and that these kids turned out the way they did because they were programmed to do so. I feel there is some hope in these messages.
Towards the beginning of the book I thought the book was too technical. It sounded like it was for students of psychology. However I am glad I didn't quit listening. As you progress through the book the stories refer back to that technical information and really helps you understand how the brain works.
This is not a book of stories like "Chicken Soupmfor the Soul". This actually tells you about the affects of childhood trauma on the brain. It was not what I expected, but it was very interesting. I would recommend.
Tell the story
NO I was fooled by the title. The author writes like a high school lecturer. This could have been a great read, but way too much lecturing.
Even given the dry material, I still think a little emotion could have been exuded.
No- it just keeps you waiting for SOMETHING interesting.
Advise: Hire a ghost writer.
Great book for anyone who has a small child or children in their life. I learned a lot, not just based on this doctors word, but the science and statistics behind it.
I will hear this author speak in person at the local university in a couple of months. I have heard so much about Dr. Bruce Perry over the years. I wanted to read one of his books in preparation for his visit. I am so glad I did! Although colleagues suggest that this one is the harshest in terms of the stories of abused children, it wasn't any worse than what I've seen in real life in my profession of 30 years, sadly. I got great hope from the book as I heard about lives recovered, although not every story ended happily.
The story that triggered the title of the book is a compelling one. This was not a case of purposeful neglect, but in the end the damage could have been the same as if it was inflicted from malice. Discovering how it came to be that this boy was raised as a dog opened my heart and mind to imagining what can happen without close family nearby to step in after the loss of a parent.
In every anecdote, my favorite was the moment of discovery of what happened, and the care with which the therapist helped others understand the impact on the young brain, how growth was stunted and how it needed to be handled to get it growing again--or at least adapting enough to become functional.
The danger of making this into a movie or TV show is that children's lives would be exploited. I would like to see it made into a PBS Special.
I learned a great deal from this book. Even if a child has not been traumatized, there are developmental milestones that need to be attended to. I'm very glad I read it and highly recommend it. I look forward to Dr. Perry's visit.
Yes, because it is important for us to realize how these things happen and as I said, it leaves you with much food for thought...
I'm a senior but I've just started reading by using audio books so as fast as I can listen I haven't read enough books to compare yet...
There were several as there were many stories in the book. However, the end of the book is something I wish everyone could read and take to heart.
I totally enjoyed this book. It's not a happy story but people tend to say things like, what were they thinking, and this book helps you to understand where they are coming from and why they may have responded the way they did.
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