Favorites we recommend for general parenting and child issues:
This easy-to-read book does a beautiful job of explaining how parents’ emotional regulation directly influences their children’s emotional regulation. Also, it paints a good picture of what emotionally healthy parenting looks like, for parents who have no idea because they grew up with abuse, neglect, or authoritarianism. Accompanying workbook available.
- The Whole Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies To Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
This book does a fabulous job of distilling an immense amount of brain development research into bite-sized, understandable pieces of profound wisdom and guidance for parents. I especially love how the old and new ways are contrasted in cartoons, it makes it very easy to read and more memorable. There is an accompanying workbook.
- No-Drama Discipline: The Whole Brain Way To Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel & Tina Payne Bryson
This book helps parents think more deeply about the lessons they want to teach their children and what is the best way to do so in practical ways. There is an accompanying workbook available.
- Punished By Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes by Alfie Kohn
This book thoroughly discusses the body of research available on the classic, typical behavioral approaches used throughout our culture in schools, parenting, workplaces, and more. The data consistently show that these approaches do more harm than good and that is why we do not recommend using them.
This book illuminates how the attachment style you grew up with may be helping or hindering your current relationship with your own children, which is a new perspective for most parents. Also illustrates related strategies to help you make positive changes in your relationship with your children.
Explains how our culture’s failure to support the natural attachment between parents and children hurts all of us, and how parents can “hold on to their kids” so this doesn’t happen to your family.
- Parenting From the Inside Out: How A Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive by Daniel J. Siegel & Mary Hartzell
This book does a wonderful job of helping parents understand how their own childhood relates to their parenting. It is more about your internal work than about practical parenting. It can help anyone understand better how your past can strongly influence your present even without you necessarily realizing it.
Favorites recommended for parenting children with trauma history:
- The Connected Child: Bringing Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family by Karyn B. Purvis, David R. Cross, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine.
The developers of Trust-Based Relational Intervention explain how foster and adoptive parents can help traumatized children begin to feel safe with them, which allows for healing their traumatized brains and building secure attachment and emotional regulation. Although these authors are Christian, they do not address anything explicitly Christian in this book. If you are interested in the spiritual integration, you can download a free PDF of Created to Connect: The Christian’s Guide to the Connected Child here, which “is designed to help illuminate the biblical principles that serve as the foundation for the philosophy and interventions detailed in The Connected Child.”
- This resource page https://empoweredtoconnect.org/resources/ includes many of Dr. Purvis’ brief videos on specific topics related to parenting traumatized children such as responding to manipulation & control, using time-in instead of time-out, responding to aggression & violence, and the importance of repairing your mistakes.
- Searching YouTube for “Karyn Purvis” will yield many more helpful resources.
- There is also a Facebook group called Parenting with Connection for parents of traumatized children following connected parenting strategies.
- There is a Facebook page called L.R.Knost – Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources that offers helpful posts
- A great podcast on this subject is Robyn Gobbel’s Parenting After Trauma, found here https://robyngobbel.com/podcast/
All of the recommended resources we listed for general parenting are also appropriate for traumatized children, but they do not address trauma-specific issues.
Recommended Books for Children:
This children’s book serves as a guide for adoptive parents to discuss adoption with their child. Rosie’s family is a story about belonging in a family regardless of differences. Rosie feels different from the rest of her family and has questions that many adopted children have.
This story is about a young mother bird that loves her baby very much but places him for adoption because she is unable to provide what he needs. This story helps to explain to young adoptees why birthparents might choose adoption for their baby.
This is a picture book that uses an allegorical story about a baby bird. It is a warm and reassuring message for young adoptees that children don’t need to resemble their parents physically in order to be loved and wanted by them.
This book is for kids who are missing a significant person in their life for various reasons, including the result of death, divorce, deployment, incarceration, or foster care. This story is helpful for kids who are feeling the anxiety, loneliness, and hurt of being separated from someone they love. Whether the child has been separated from their loved one for a short time, long-distance, or permanently, the message is that kids are still connected to that person by love.
Recommended favorites for adolescent issues:
- Getting to Calm: Cool Headed Strategies for Parenting Tweens and Teens by Laura Kastner, Jennifer Wyatt
Shows parents how to stay calm when responding to some of the challenges of raising an adolescent, including rude attitudes, lying, sex and substance abuse. Parents are presented with clear, easy-to-follow suggestions for setting limits while maintaining a close and loving relationship.
- Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life for Teens: Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Skills for Helping You Manage Mood Swings, Control Angry Outbursts, and Get Along With Others by Sheri Van Dijk, MSW
This book makes positive coping skills very accessible and relatable for teens who tend to be overwhelmed by emotions.
Favorites we recommend for adults addressing their own childhood abuse:
- Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving, a guide and map for recovering from childhood trauma by Pete Walker
Written by a complex trauma survivor who is now a therapist, this book wonderfully articulates what it is like to grow up immersed in trauma and more importantly, what it is like to walk your way out as an adult. A strong, wise, and encouraging work.
- Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No, to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
This book is an easy-to-read introduction to basic boundary concepts, very helpful for anyone who has grown up in a family with poor boundaries.
Dr. Ramani is a licensed clinical psychologist who has a wonderful educational YouTube channel that can help you understand your experience with narcissistic and personality disordered people who played a significant role in your life, what to do with them now, and more.
Christian counseling favorites:
This book helps Christians develop a true personal relationship and dialogue with Christ, teaching about the many ways God speaks to us personally and how to participate in communicating with Him.
Ken Sande has contributed so much by articulating a Biblical theology of conflict resolution. Christians struggling with relationships and communication in any area will find excellent wisdom and guidance in these works.
- This one outlines the key Biblical principles thoroughly.
- This one offers illustrations specific to marriage & parenting.
- This one translates the key Biblical principles for teaching to children.
- This one is designed for high school and college students and the adults working with them.
Additional related resources can be found at https://peacemaker.training/free-peacemaker-resources/
Christian Parenting Resources
This book provides a Biblical perspective on how to parent through love rather than fear, for children from infancy through adulthood.
- Four Keys to Parent Fearlessly: Staying Joy Fueled and Jesus Led Even When You Can’t Control the Outcome by Toni Daniels
This book offers beautiful examples and underlying principles for what it looks like to parent by walking in the Holy Spirit. You can also look for her podcast entitled Joy Fueled and Jesus Led that includes many parenting examples.