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Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control: A Love-Based Approach to Helping Attachment-Challenged Children With Severe Behaviors, Volume 1

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Heather T. Forbes and B. Bryan Post address some of the most pressing and challenging issues faced by parents of children with histories of disrupted attachments. The authors have the ability to strip away the fog surrounding these troubled relationships, exposing the reality of children's reactions and dysregulated responses to the past traumatic experiences that so often Heather T. Forbes and B. Bryan Post address some of the most pressing and challenging issues faced by parents of children with histories of disrupted attachments. The authors have the ability to strip away the fog surrounding these troubled relationships, exposing the reality of children's reactions and dysregulated responses to the past traumatic experiences that so often underlie their difficulty in making close, affectional bonds. This clarity illuminates their therapeutic intervention in a manner that allows parent and child to hold onto the strategy, as they are caught up in the whirlwind of challenging behavior during the painful process of change. The authors address in detail the child's trauma (often associated with the adoption process), and they also address the painful struggle of the parents when a challenging child exposes the parents' own vulnerabilities to memories that they may have suppressed of their own past experiences. The immense value of this book is the clarity and simplicity of the authors' working model; the price of this clarity is that the hard truth is exposed with such intensity that some may shy away from facing reality and not benefit from their undoubted insights. The psychotherapeutic intervention described by the authors involves clinicians tapping into their own empathic capacities to help children feel supported to such a degree that a direct connection can be forged between the reality of children's traumatic experiences and the parents and/or clinicians being able to tolerate their pain, and so regulate the child's distress down to a manageable level. The recognition that another person can truly understand and tolerate their pain can be a major contribution to the client's therapeutic outcome. This book is an absolute necessity for every parent working through attachment issues, and for every professional (therapist, caseworker, teacher, policy maker, etc.) working with children who exhibit severe acting-out behaviors.


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Heather T. Forbes and B. Bryan Post address some of the most pressing and challenging issues faced by parents of children with histories of disrupted attachments. The authors have the ability to strip away the fog surrounding these troubled relationships, exposing the reality of children's reactions and dysregulated responses to the past traumatic experiences that so often Heather T. Forbes and B. Bryan Post address some of the most pressing and challenging issues faced by parents of children with histories of disrupted attachments. The authors have the ability to strip away the fog surrounding these troubled relationships, exposing the reality of children's reactions and dysregulated responses to the past traumatic experiences that so often underlie their difficulty in making close, affectional bonds. This clarity illuminates their therapeutic intervention in a manner that allows parent and child to hold onto the strategy, as they are caught up in the whirlwind of challenging behavior during the painful process of change. The authors address in detail the child's trauma (often associated with the adoption process), and they also address the painful struggle of the parents when a challenging child exposes the parents' own vulnerabilities to memories that they may have suppressed of their own past experiences. The immense value of this book is the clarity and simplicity of the authors' working model; the price of this clarity is that the hard truth is exposed with such intensity that some may shy away from facing reality and not benefit from their undoubted insights. The psychotherapeutic intervention described by the authors involves clinicians tapping into their own empathic capacities to help children feel supported to such a degree that a direct connection can be forged between the reality of children's traumatic experiences and the parents and/or clinicians being able to tolerate their pain, and so regulate the child's distress down to a manageable level. The recognition that another person can truly understand and tolerate their pain can be a major contribution to the client's therapeutic outcome. This book is an absolute necessity for every parent working through attachment issues, and for every professional (therapist, caseworker, teacher, policy maker, etc.) working with children who exhibit severe acting-out behaviors.

30 review for Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control: A Love-Based Approach to Helping Attachment-Challenged Children With Severe Behaviors, Volume 1

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bradley Ross

    I stopped reading after the first two chapters. I was turned off the the unsupportable generalizations the author kept making. I was hoping to get great ideas for raising kids who don't have the severe attachment problems--but they aren't the real target of this book. The first key principle in the book is that, "All negative behavior arises from an unconscious, fear-based state of stress." The second key principle is, "There are only two primary emotions: Love and fear." Because I couldn't accep I stopped reading after the first two chapters. I was turned off the the unsupportable generalizations the author kept making. I was hoping to get great ideas for raising kids who don't have the severe attachment problems--but they aren't the real target of this book. The first key principle in the book is that, "All negative behavior arises from an unconscious, fear-based state of stress." The second key principle is, "There are only two primary emotions: Love and fear." Because I couldn't accept these generalizations after reading the chapters that support them, I gave up on the book. The assertions about neuroscience also didn't jive with the stuff I was hearing from neurologists on things like The Brain Science Podcast. For example, the authors state, "We never lose a single memory. Our memories get stored away in the filing cabinet of our mind when they are no longer needed and can then be recalled when necessary." As I understand it, this is REALLY wrong. Our memories are hugely fallible. Not only that, but each time we replay a memory, we alter it. This has been demonstrated in many experiments. The authors embed this sort of claim in the midst of a discussion of brain anatomy which makes it sounds like they are really well informed. But it sounds like their information isn't up to date with the current research. I had a friend who was really impressed by the book. I really respect her opinion which is why I purchased the book to read it. Instead, I would recommend that you read something like "Bonds that make us free" by C. Terry Warner. I really like the way he explains the power of personal relationships and how seeing other people as objects or obstacles will harm our ability to influence them. Interestingly, this book has a cool copyright grant. "Permissions provided for any or all parts of this book to be reproduced for a loving cause. Reproductions of this book are not to be sold and may only be given free of charge."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    This is an amazing book! I highly recommend it to any parent, but particularly to parents of challenging children and/or children who have been adopted later than infancy. Having a daughter adopted from an orphanage at age 4, and a foster daughter who was a street child for 6 years, in an orphanage for 8 years, and in a failed adoption for a year, and who obviously has reactive attachment disorder as a result, I have personally experienced many of the principles in this book as effective. I am a This is an amazing book! I highly recommend it to any parent, but particularly to parents of challenging children and/or children who have been adopted later than infancy. Having a daughter adopted from an orphanage at age 4, and a foster daughter who was a street child for 6 years, in an orphanage for 8 years, and in a failed adoption for a year, and who obviously has reactive attachment disorder as a result, I have personally experienced many of the principles in this book as effective. I am amazed by the kind, Christian attitude this book presents toward these children and the Biblical philosophy towards their intrinsic value and the gospel principles that will heal them. Of course, no one is beyond hope! But this book is the first to make it seem really possible.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    Great book for parents deal with attachment-challenged children. Chapters cover lying, stealing, hoarding, gorging, aggression and lack of eye-contact. We haven't dealt with the aggression part, but everything else has definitely been an issue in our adoption. I only wish I had read this earlier! The concepts are simple and based on love. Great book for parents deal with attachment-challenged children. Chapters cover lying, stealing, hoarding, gorging, aggression and lack of eye-contact. We haven't dealt with the aggression part, but everything else has definitely been an issue in our adoption. I only wish I had read this earlier! The concepts are simple and based on love.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I'm not sure that Goodreads is the place to get all spiritual, but let's just say that this book was placed in my hands and read in a timely fashion through undeniable divine intervention. It was a direct answer to several months a heartfelt prayer, and. It. Has. Changed. My. Life. EXCLAMATION POINT. I look at my current situation with my adopted girls in a whole new light now and feel completely empowered to know how to handle their extreme behaviors and my reactions to them. Now I just need to I'm not sure that Goodreads is the place to get all spiritual, but let's just say that this book was placed in my hands and read in a timely fashion through undeniable divine intervention. It was a direct answer to several months a heartfelt prayer, and. It. Has. Changed. My. Life. EXCLAMATION POINT. I look at my current situation with my adopted girls in a whole new light now and feel completely empowered to know how to handle their extreme behaviors and my reactions to them. Now I just need to practice and forgive myself when things don't go perfectly... because they won't...and that's okay. This book is a must read (!) for parents of traumatized children and/or those with severe behaviors, i.e. lying, stealing, hoarding and gorging, aggression, defiance, lack of eye contact and attachment disorders. So, so, so grateful for this book!!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lynne

    This is a useful book for working with/parenting children (people) who have suffered trauma early on. As as result they have what is now termed "reactive attachment disorder." All kinds of severe behavior can result, grinding down parents, staff, teachers...and putting the very reassurance and safety these kids crave at risk. Brain research is used to understand what happens when a child's life is threatened. What I like most about this approach is the understanding that underlying extreme behav This is a useful book for working with/parenting children (people) who have suffered trauma early on. As as result they have what is now termed "reactive attachment disorder." All kinds of severe behavior can result, grinding down parents, staff, teachers...and putting the very reassurance and safety these kids crave at risk. Brain research is used to understand what happens when a child's life is threatened. What I like most about this approach is the understanding that underlying extreme behavior such as aggression, stealing, lying, hoarding, etc... is fear. Understanding that helps "calm" one, which in turn, helps the child calm ("regulate") his/her nervous system. For these kids, exerting power and dominance only makes them more fearful.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    Good insight. I liked the love, not fear based approach. Written for severe behaviors but good applications for any parent. I think the authors should write one for marriage. The thing that shocked me the most were some of the other theories and practices commonly used today.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    No kids yet, but in the process of adopting an older child from foster care. I think this book will prove itself invaluable for dealing with the "stuff" s/he comes with. No kids yet, but in the process of adopting an older child from foster care. I think this book will prove itself invaluable for dealing with the "stuff" s/he comes with.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sherrie

    So...like, are all parenting books a mixed bag of brilliance and hot garbage? Because I think that's the case. I really enjoyed the first section of this book which explains the stress model and its principles. I find that thinking of all behaviors as deriving from either love or a fear a really useful tool for guiding parenting with compassion and not letting my own ego get in the way of what the child needs. It's a useful thought experiment, if you will. I did not enjoy the second section of t So...like, are all parenting books a mixed bag of brilliance and hot garbage? Because I think that's the case. I really enjoyed the first section of this book which explains the stress model and its principles. I find that thinking of all behaviors as deriving from either love or a fear a really useful tool for guiding parenting with compassion and not letting my own ego get in the way of what the child needs. It's a useful thought experiment, if you will. I did not enjoy the second section of this book which goes through various bad behaviors and walks through how to handle them. The anecdotes did not feel believable and I felt they relied too heavily on the parents suddenly remembering their own childhood trauma. Also, nobody should EVER BOTTLE FEED THEIR TEENAGE CHILDREN. Let me repeat. DO NOT BOTTLE FEED YOUR TEENAGER. This is not a way to form attachment. This is a way to look like a sexual deviant. Sheesh. The third section of this book redeemed it somewhat. Real life stories from real life parents were much more believable and, honestly, soothing for a non-parent like me. It's good to know some of these behaviors can be overcome.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Leah Klint

    Good recommendation for foster parents I read this book because it was recommended reading on a booklist for foster parents. I loved what it said, I feel it is paradigm shifting for me and will refer back to it. I tried some of the stuff she suggested today with my own kids and I felt more calm when dealing with them which was empowering. I'll try to remember to edit this review as I see how these ideas play out in the long term. Good recommendation for foster parents I read this book because it was recommended reading on a booklist for foster parents. I loved what it said, I feel it is paradigm shifting for me and will refer back to it. I tried some of the stuff she suggested today with my own kids and I felt more calm when dealing with them which was empowering. I'll try to remember to edit this review as I see how these ideas play out in the long term.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    2.5 stars. This book is definitely a mixed bag, and my rating might be generous. The authors present suggestions for dealing with children who act out due to past trauma, and (if the testimonies are real) these suggestions seem to make a real difference in many families. The difficulty is that they can't just say, "This works; just trust us." They try to back it up with pseudoscience and oversimplifications of how the brain works. I almost abandoned this book after the first couple of chapters b 2.5 stars. This book is definitely a mixed bag, and my rating might be generous. The authors present suggestions for dealing with children who act out due to past trauma, and (if the testimonies are real) these suggestions seem to make a real difference in many families. The difficulty is that they can't just say, "This works; just trust us." They try to back it up with pseudoscience and oversimplifications of how the brain works. I almost abandoned this book after the first couple of chapters because of the terrible presentation of the research on brain structure and functioning (not to mention the atrocious lack of editing). I suggest skipping over that first part and going right to the sections on specific issues and suggested approaches. Their examples came across a bit overly optimistic at times (as if a chronically defiant child is going to comply the first time he's approached the right way), but I think their general framework is a good one and worth a try if you're experiencing the problems they address. I do think their portrayal of the "traditional view" in attachment therapy is a bit of a straw man sometimes — maybe it reflects some therapists' perspectives, but it's a bit extreme to represent all of them — but I suppose if their approach works it doesn't matter as much if they wrongly vilify the alternatives. I don't know if we'll adopt older kids in the future, but I think it's helpful to know that this approach is out there. Even with our son now, I'll be asking myself if his negative behaviors could be coming from a place of fear before automatically implementing consequences for them.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Carlin

    It was interesting and helpful in a lot of ways, but I felt like a terrible person by the end. It was all my fault because I hadn't delt with childhood traumas, etc. I really had a great childhood and have always had the desire to adopt. It did encourage me to get some help and we have discovered my trauma is from the terrible two week stay I had at the orphanage and the abusive daughter that we adopted who scared the crap out of me when we got home. The best thing we have done was find a therap It was interesting and helpful in a lot of ways, but I felt like a terrible person by the end. It was all my fault because I hadn't delt with childhood traumas, etc. I really had a great childhood and have always had the desire to adopt. It did encourage me to get some help and we have discovered my trauma is from the terrible two week stay I had at the orphanage and the abusive daughter that we adopted who scared the crap out of me when we got home. The best thing we have done was find a therapist who specializes in RAD and is working with both of us in sessions to help her learn emotions and how to communicate and have a relationship with a mother. It is hard work and for every step fwd there are set backs, but I'm not the crazy person the book had me believe I was. I will probably read it again in a few more months.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jeanine Marie Swenson

    If your children do not respond to traditional parenting techniques like Magic 1-2-3 and Love and Logic, then this is book series is for you. Combining the most up-to-date research from social neuroscience, child development and attachment disorders, family therapist, Heather Forbes, gently suggests other relationship building techniques that might work for your family. This book is a very good resource for any professional that works with children or families.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    Not all our children's "negative" behavior is control, manipulation or defiance; in fact, it is based out of fear. Our parenting needs to shift from a place of Fear to a place of Love. Here's a couple great quotes from the book: We are all conditioned to behave in various ways both good and bad. One cannot build and strengthen a relationship when fear is present. (There is no fear in love-- 1 John 4:18). Not all our children's "negative" behavior is control, manipulation or defiance; in fact, it is based out of fear. Our parenting needs to shift from a place of Fear to a place of Love. Here's a couple great quotes from the book: We are all conditioned to behave in various ways both good and bad. One cannot build and strengthen a relationship when fear is present. (There is no fear in love-- 1 John 4:18).

  14. 4 out of 5

    Leanne

    There is so much to be gained from Heather Forbes' teachings, a lot of wisdom and acceptance. Nevertheless, this book should come with some sort of warning label like: "Despite all your best efforts, your child's trauma issues may not disappear or even lessen no matter how much empathy you throw on the fire." Without such a warning, you may like me, simply feel more discouraged as a mother when the results aren't as powerful as you had hoped. There is so much to be gained from Heather Forbes' teachings, a lot of wisdom and acceptance. Nevertheless, this book should come with some sort of warning label like: "Despite all your best efforts, your child's trauma issues may not disappear or even lessen no matter how much empathy you throw on the fire." Without such a warning, you may like me, simply feel more discouraged as a mother when the results aren't as powerful as you had hoped.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Erika

    One of the best, most easily understood, most practical guides for how to help children with "negative" behaviors. And I say this as a foster/adoptive parents and a therapist. The techniques in this book work for attachment-challenged children. One of the best, most easily understood, most practical guides for how to help children with "negative" behaviors. And I say this as a foster/adoptive parents and a therapist. The techniques in this book work for attachment-challenged children.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dan King

    As an adoptive dad to three kids (all out of the foster care system), this book has helped me get a better understanding of the mental and emotional dynamics going on in some of my kids as we deal with issues like lying, stealing and defiance. And just as important (if not more), it has gotten me to recognize dynamics in myself that have impacted how I parent in these situations. As I implement the principles and techniques in my parenting my kids who have a trauma background, I'm already seeing As an adoptive dad to three kids (all out of the foster care system), this book has helped me get a better understanding of the mental and emotional dynamics going on in some of my kids as we deal with issues like lying, stealing and defiance. And just as important (if not more), it has gotten me to recognize dynamics in myself that have impacted how I parent in these situations. As I implement the principles and techniques in my parenting my kids who have a trauma background, I'm already seeing an immediate change in their countenance. I know I still have a long road ahead of me, but I definitely feel more equipped and empowered to handle various behaviors more effectively. And I know I'm building stronger, deeper relationships with the kids. I would definitely add this book to the must-read list for all adoptive parents.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Maria Gulley

    I was given this book to read in preparation for working on a therapeutic horticulture project with teenage girls with traumatic backgrounds. I've worked informally with children and teens from difficult life situations before, so I knew a little bit going in, but this book taught me so much more about regulation/dysregulation, understanding fear, and learning how to help create physical and emotional safety. The book is geared towards parents of children, but there was still plenty there that w I was given this book to read in preparation for working on a therapeutic horticulture project with teenage girls with traumatic backgrounds. I've worked informally with children and teens from difficult life situations before, so I knew a little bit going in, but this book taught me so much more about regulation/dysregulation, understanding fear, and learning how to help create physical and emotional safety. The book is geared towards parents of children, but there was still plenty there that will be useful with people of any age, and with understanding how I myself might respond to stress, even if I don't have the kinds of trauma experienced by the girls I'll be working with.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marisa Oconnor

    A whole new perspective When parenting isn't working, when things are getting worse at home, when you're at a loss for what's going on and how to change, pick up this book and start here. The concepts, ideas, perspective were completely different than how I was raised or how to view children. But those ways didn't seem to be helping my kids and like many parents in the book say, things were getting worse. This book came at the right time in our lives and I encourage others to read as well, for ge A whole new perspective When parenting isn't working, when things are getting worse at home, when you're at a loss for what's going on and how to change, pick up this book and start here. The concepts, ideas, perspective were completely different than how I was raised or how to view children. But those ways didn't seem to be helping my kids and like many parents in the book say, things were getting worse. This book came at the right time in our lives and I encourage others to read as well, for general parenting and at a loss in your parenting. So worth it!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Leif Kurth

    The overall message/information, was very valuable. Children who have experienced trauma have different neurological sequences than children who have been brought up in more stable/trauma free environments. Trauma leads to a whole host of behaviors that have previously been misdiagnosed and/or mistreated. Parenting these children requires more patience, more introspection, and more attention to the details of the child's life. The overall message/information, was very valuable. Children who have experienced trauma have different neurological sequences than children who have been brought up in more stable/trauma free environments. Trauma leads to a whole host of behaviors that have previously been misdiagnosed and/or mistreated. Parenting these children requires more patience, more introspection, and more attention to the details of the child's life.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    I wanted to connect with this more deeply than I did. Perhaps, not having a child with attachment disorder, I don’t fully understand all the nuances of the recommendations and their contrast to traditional philosophies. The heart of responding to your child calmly and recognizing how very often they are responding out of fear was helpful. There were also a few editing and layout issues that made it hard to stay engaged.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Shelli

    Yes, be empathetic. Help control your emotions so you are not engaging with the child. That is something I can agree with. Of course, this book serves a purpose. And if you are in a fostering/adoptive situation where you don't know what the first few years of parenting were like, I can see the approach. I suppose the operative word is "attachment-challenged"... if the child did not have a caring adult to attach to in the first three years of life, this book may make more sense. Yes, be empathetic. Help control your emotions so you are not engaging with the child. That is something I can agree with. Of course, this book serves a purpose. And if you are in a fostering/adoptive situation where you don't know what the first few years of parenting were like, I can see the approach. I suppose the operative word is "attachment-challenged"... if the child did not have a caring adult to attach to in the first three years of life, this book may make more sense.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    A powerful book that challenges the theories of love and logic with far more empathy and compassion for both the parent and the child. Though the subtitle suggests this is for "severe behaviors," it is really a great lens through which to view all of our challenges with our children, and reframe our reactions to them by first addressing our own fears and previous trauma. A powerful book that challenges the theories of love and logic with far more empathy and compassion for both the parent and the child. Though the subtitle suggests this is for "severe behaviors," it is really a great lens through which to view all of our challenges with our children, and reframe our reactions to them by first addressing our own fears and previous trauma.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    A must-read for anyone parenting children who have experienced the trauma of rejection, separation, neglect, and/or abuse. This book has changed our parenting for the better and we are seeing results, slowly but surely.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    If you want to learn about trauma and the impact it has on children, this is an amazing book. It is so helpful for parents and/or providers to understand trauma and unlearn traditional responses to behaviors.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Erin Miller

    This was a worthwhile read. Some of the dialogue given in examples scenarios was hard to take seriously, but the underlying premise was sound and the summaries at the end of each chapter were helpful. I also appreciated the parent testimonials included.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey Roath

    This was a difficult read. It was super helpful, but super difficult to determine how to implement those strategies into my own life.

  27. 4 out of 5

    J Kir

    Opened my eyes to a new way of looking at things

  28. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    Worth reading and re-reading.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Children’s behavior is driven out of fear and is subconscious, not intentional.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Anita Heveron

    A great resource for helping work with children who have been through trauma.

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