As a faith-based foster care agency, our mission is to cultivate healing for children who have experienced trauma and neglect. Our therapeutic approach follows the Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) as prescribed by Dr. Karyn Purvis of Texas Christian University. This method of intervention follows a holistic philosophy of healing as the harm these hurt children have experienced affects the child’s development as a whole.
The Connected Child is a wonderfully insightful and helpful resource that is founded in the principles of TBRI. This book is filled with information on the effects of trauma and practical steps for parents to take to help connect with children with trauma or special needs.
Foster2Forever has an excellent summary on The Connected Child.
"The Connected Child begins by showing the reader that there can be HOPE and HEALING in your child. By closely observing your child, showing compassion, and eliminating the traditional parenting techniques that can become obstacles to attachment, you can create a connected relationship with your child hurt by trauma.
The Connected Child stresses the importance of a baby’s first years, and how the loss of a nurtured environment can affect a child for a lifetime. This even includes the baby’s environment prenatally, and not just exposure to drugs and alcohol. Even a pregnant mother’s stress can cause an influx of stress hormones into an unborn child that can cause changes in a baby’s brain development. The Connected Child dedicates a chapter on how stress affects the chemistry of the brain and the importance of nutrition.
This book includes solid, practical advice for a variety of behaviors that could be attributed to the trauma of a child’s past. The key is to decipher the behavior and the hidden message behind it. FEAR DRIVES A HURT CHILD’S BEHAVIOR. A parent can disarm this fear in order to meet the child’s need.
Although a hurt child may be safe in your home, due to their past trauma, a child may not FEEL safe. A parent’s duty is to create an environment of “FELT SAFETY” for the child. Building trust and reducing stress are the ways to create an environment of felt safety.
Children from hard places may not have learned appropriate social interactions. Due to their fear and survival instincts, a child may act out, throw tantrums, or try to manipulate or control others around them. The Connected Child discusses ways that a parent can teach life values, such as respect and accepting the word NO. The parent must consistently model these life values by staying calm, actively listening, and offering praise and encouragement.
The Connected Child emphasizes how the traditional way of parenting with punishment, such as using time-outs, can be counterproductive to attachment by encouraging isolation and shame. This book provides a number of useful parenting strategies that you can put to use immediately, along with examples of dialog and phrases you can use. The emphasis is on providing a respectful environment which begins with the parent’s being mindful in their response to misbehavior. Parents can also build connection by staying close during the child’s tough times. The parenting techniques include offering choices and compromises, allowing re-do’s, and having a unified front with your partner to avoid triangulation. An entire chapter is devoted to dealing with defiance.
The key to parenting children from hard places is to nurture at every opportunity with positive engagement and to be proactive in situations which may be difficult for your child. The Connected Child acknowledges that there will be setbacks but encourages parents to look at the overall progress your child has made.
The Connected Child concludes by discussing the importance of parents to heal their past emotional wounds."
“There are many wonderful, responsible, capable, and self-sacrificing people who carry around unresolved traumas and wounds inside them, and as a result they are unready to give the deep, nurturing care that an at-risk child requires.”
The book encourages anyone looking to foster or is currently fostering to exercise insight and self-care. It is important for a foster parent to be aware of their own trauma and mental health needs and to make sure they have taken the necessary steps to start their own healing journey.
We encourage you to read The Connected Child in its entirety to gain invaluable tools and insights into connecting with your foster child.