The Connected Child Book Summary - The Connected Child Book explained in key points
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The Connected Child summary

Karyn B. Purvis, David R. Cross and Wendy Lyons Sunshine

Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family

4.5 (56 ratings)
27 mins

Brief summary

"The Connected Child" by Karyn B. Purvis, David R. Cross and Wendy Lyons Sunshine is a guide for adoptive and foster parents. It explores the unique needs of children from difficult backgrounds and offers practical strategies for building trust, promoting healing and facilitating growth.

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    The Connected Child
    Summary of 9 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 9

    We need to understand the histories of at-risk kids to give them the support they need.

    Consider Louise, a baby who is born into a loving, stable home. Louise has her needs met even before she’s born. Her mother eats nutritious foods and goes to doctor’s appointments; the family prepares as best they can for her arrival.

    Once she’s born, she’s held and fed. Louise learns that people will always respond to her cries. By listening to her parents’ voices, she starts to develop language skills; by scanning the room, her visual literacy increases. Every time her small body is touched and held, it releases serotonin, which helps her brain grow. 

    Contrast her experience with that of a baby like Donnie, who is put in an orphanage as an infant. Donnie lies in his crib for hours, staring at the ceiling. He gets used to wearing soiled diapers and experiencing prolonged hunger. He is hardly touched or interacted with by the overworked attendants.

    The key message here is: We need to understand the histories of at-risk kids to give them the support they need. 

    Donnie’s background left him with a yawning gap in his development, which is the case for many adopted and fostered children. Adoptive parents need to understand the specific deprivations their children have experienced in order to understand their behavior and be able to provide adequate support. 

    The nine months in utero and first years of life are an essential time for a child’s development. Infants whose mothers were chronically stressed, anxious, or depressed during pregnancy show abnormal brain chemistry. If their mothers abused drugs or alcohol during pregnancy, this also has profound effects on the functioning of their central nervous systems.

    Children who grow up with absent or abusive parents often have difficulty forming attachments. They find it hard to trust; they’ve learned they can’t count on anybody to help them. If, like Donnie, they’re deprived of touch and interaction as a baby, they’ll have a much harder time bonding with others as adults. A lack of physical and verbal interaction also affects their brain development, as well as their ability to process what they see, feel, or hear. 

    Raising an adopted or foster child means reckoning with their specific past experiences. Even if children appear “normal,” they’re often carrying around the invisible scars of neglect or abuse. Once you understand what they’ve been through, you’ll be better able to provide support to help them heal and grow.

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    What is The Connected Child about?

    The Connected Child (2007) is an insightful guide for parents of adopted and foster children. Children from deprived or abusive backgrounds have unique needs. By taking a multipronged approach including behavioral interventions, good diet and exercise, and lots of nurturing, parents can play a vital role in helping their children heal. 

    The Connected Child Review

    The Connected Child (2007) is an essential read for anyone seeking to understand and support children with difficult pasts. Here's why this book is worth your time:

    • Offers practical strategies for parents and caregivers to build strong, loving connections with children who have experienced trauma.
    • Addresses a wide range of topics, from attachment issues to sensory integration, providing a comprehensive approach to supporting children's development.
    • Shares compelling stories of real families, illustrating the power of connection and offering hope and inspiration for those facing similar challenges.

    Best quote from The Connected Child

    Shift your mind-set so that you see misbehaviors not as a headache but as an opportunity to teach a child new skills.

    —Karyn B. Purvis, David R. Cross and Wendy Lyons Sunshine
    example alt text

    Who should read The Connected Child?

    • Parents who are considering adopting or fostering a child
    • Teachers or social workers who interact with at-risk youth
    • Anyone who’s ever had a showdown with a toddler in the cereal aisle

    About the Author

    The late Dr. Karyn Purvis was the director of the Rees-Jones Foundation and cofounder of the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

    Dr. David R. Cross is a psychology professor at Texas Christian University and the director of the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development.

    Wendy Lyons Sunshine is an award-winning health journalist. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Scientific American, and AARP Magazine.

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    The Connected Child FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Connected Child?

    The main message of The Connected Child is about nurturing children who have experienced trauma and creating strong emotional bonds.

    How long does it take to read The Connected Child?

    The reading time for The Connected Child varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Connected Child a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Yes, The Connected Child is a valuable read. It provides practical guidance on helping children with trauma and building healthy relationships.

    Who is the author of The Connected Child?

    The authors of The Connected Child are Karyn B. Purvis, David R. Cross, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine.

    What to read after The Connected Child?

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