This month’s book review is of “The A-Z of Therapeutic Parenting”, written by Sarah Naish. It’s one of many books she’s written for parents and children to help them manage behaviour and feelings. Sarah is an adoptive parent and director Inspire Training Group which delivers training on attachment issues. She’s also founder of the National Association of Therapeutic Parents
The review is written by the wonderful Ali whose Instagram account @im.winging.it.too is utterly brilliant. She shares what it’s like to be an adoptive parent in such an open and honest way, documenting the incredible highs and crushing lows of her experience. If you don’t follow her already, you definitely should.
If I had a penny for the number of Google searches I’d done for strategies to support a range of behaviours my son exhibits, I’d be a very rich women.
As a mum of two through adoption, I’m always researching and reading. I’d message other parents I’ve got to know on Instagram, asking if their children had experienced similar things. The answer was yes and one of the recommendations was this book.
When I read the “Basics” chapter, I had a lightbulb moment. Was Sarah describing my son? Soon I realised that a lot of children who’ve experienced trauma and neglect, can (not always) have very similar behaviour traits. Obviously, they come in all different shapes and sizes. But all those behaviours were what I couldn’t quite describe, because sometimes I just couldn’t find the words Sarah has.
As the title suggests, it’s an A-Z. It’s something you can read from beginning to end, or dip in and out. You can listen to it as an audio book too. My husband did this as he has severe dyslexia.
I would say the A-Z works better in book form as it’s something I refer to over and over again. I’m the parent of a child with developmental trauma. They can appear completely normal, then, at the flick of a switch they can change. Or things can get subtly worse over time. Because it’s an A-Z, you can quickly flick to a type of behaviour and read why they might be displaying it and what you can do about it.
I sent a link to the school to read and use the book to help them with my son. I don’t think read it to be honest, but it might have saved them on a number of occasions if they had.
It’s important to note that this book doesn’t solve behaviour complexities. What it does do is gives you tools to enhance a therapeutic relationship with your child.
I don’t manage therapeutic parenting all the time. I’m probably 35% there, I’m aiming for 50%. A lot of the changes come from you as a person and a parent. Your child won’t change overnight. In fact if my son did, I’d be seriously concerned that he was putting on a show.
Sarah uses an analogy of our children as car drivers, except no one has taught them how to drive. They’ve tampered with the brakes and stamped on the accelerator to make it speed off. And now everyone is blaming our children for crashing into things, for being too fast, damaging things or hurting people.
She goes on to say that we can teach our children how to use the handbrake and manage the steering. But we need to be right next to them, helping them to cope with their fear.
Sarah is a mum through adoption too. She really gets it. I’d recommend this book to any family, especially those who’ve become a family through adoption. I’d also recommend it as a book for prospective adopters and teaching staff.
You can buy “The A-Z of Therapeutic Parenting” from most book shops, including Waterstones