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Parenting the Hurt Child: Helping Adoptive Families Heal and Grow

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  596 ratings  ·  67 reviews
The world is full of hurt children, and bringing one into your home can quickly derail the easy family life you once knew. Get effective suggestions, wisdom, and advice to parent the hurt child in your life. The best hope for tragedy prevention is knowledge! Updated and revised.

Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 15th 2009 by NavPress (first published March 19th 2002)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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May 18, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Nope. A few things about this book were ok, but I couldn't get past the blatant vilification of first families. (p 52: "...dumped by a drug-addicted mom"; p.53: "...the hurt child is familiar with anger and rage and has experienced much of it throughout his life with his birth family.")

The author actually suggests that parents mock their hurting child's tantrums and dare them to "do better". Ah, I know exactly how that would go over in my home, and it would not be pretty, and CERTAINLY not heali
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First off: I am not a parent. I'm an adult adoptee. I read a lot of adoption books, including this one, in order to gain a fuller understanding of myself and my relationships with my family.

Not that this would normally matter, but I'm also an atheist. I'm not an angry, pushy atheist, but I'm not interested in having others' faith pushed on me. I wasn't aware that this was a book by born-again Christian authors, printed by a Christian publisher, until the non-sequitur screed about abortion and c
May 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adoption
As an adoptive parent, I found this book to be an outstanding and extremely empathetic look at the struggles faced by adoptive parents and their children. The authors did an excellent job providing suggestions for things you can do to help your child, while also providing lots of suggestions and encouragement for parents. It's easy to read and filled with great ideas.

While many similar books focus on how parents can help their children form attachments, heal from past trauma, etc., this book als
Jun 26, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
Although I liked some of what the authors say in this book in terms of spending quality time with children, I can also see how their attitude toward control over the child leads to a lack of respect for children and a failure to listen to their needs. Not my favorite book, but I can see coming to it as a last resort for extremely behaviorally challenged kids.
Jennifer Lucking
If I were to rate only the first half of the book, I would give probably 4 or 5 stars. But I was so disappointed with the last half of the book that I can only give it 2 stars.

The first half of the book (relating to discipline, etc.) was really helpful. But after that, it felt almost as if the authors said "ok, we don't feel like writing any new material anymore.... Let's just write the bare minimum and then say 'for more information, you should really read Parenting With Love And Logic.'" It g
After reading Deborah Gray's Nurturing Adoptions, Keck & Kopecky come out with a bang! This is a straight-shooting pair who does not mince words in their frustration with psychologists.

Keck & Kopecky also have a unique perspective in expressing consistent support of and respect for the parents that enter into what they know will be challenging adoptions. Rather than dwell on their limitations as necessitating assistance, Keck and Kopecky point out that these parents were functioning well before
Janet Reeves
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Of all the books I've read about adoption, this one is by far the best. If you are thinking about adopting a child or have already done so, or if you work with adoptive families in any way, you need to read this book. ...more
Katie Kenig
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, adoption
During our long training sessions in preparation to complete a special-needs adoption, social workers recommended this particular book over and over again. I started to wonder what all the fuss was about, so I did a quick search on the library website, and found there was only one copy floating around. Yikes! I requested it right away.

It wasn't far into the book before I understood what was going on. Ah, I see. Our course of learning how to parent special needs kids? Yeah, it almost felt lifted
Sarah Hyatt
Oct 22, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Really disappointed with this one. So much of the book seemed like filler (chapters made entirely of stories from parents and children, while interesting, would be better woven into the book at meaningful times, rather than just a hodgepodge of other peoples' narratives), and the rest of it seemed like a huge ad for reading "Parenting with Love and Logic." Which I am probably not going to do, because this was the book I checked out of the library, not that one, and I would appreciate if it actua ...more
Oct 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I do not have a lot of time to read these days but I devoured this book. From the introduction I was hooked - this guy GETS IT! Finally someone who understands what we've been going through and has some real help to offer beyond good, solid but basic parenting tips. Because sometimes no matter how much you love or how consistent you are that's just not enough. Trauma of all kinds causes neurological changes, hurt that cannot be seen except for how it manifests in behavior, often difficult behavi ...more
Jan 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If giving 1/2 stars was possible, this would receive 3 1/2 stars instead of 4. The first part of the book was excellent, providing much insight to behavior, feelings, emotions, thoughts of the hurt child. It certainly opened my eyes. However, it would have been helpful to have more practical advice on how to deal with the child, rather than as many examples and stories. As a grandmother of a "hurt" child, I learned some useful techniques, but wish there had been more. ...more
Feb 11, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adoption
While most of this book was on point, the authors sprinkled in a few curveballs throughout the book that honestly seem to be more based on their personal judgments vs. being relevant to all adoptive families. There’s also some inconsistencies. For example: towards the beginning of the book,
the authors condemn parents who “throw” their adopted children in daycare, basically saying “why bother to adopt if you’re just going to have someone else raise them?” However, a later chapter is devoted almos
Whitney Rines
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An important reas for anyone adopting or planning on adopting and bringing a child from a hard palce into their family. It talks not only about working together as a family, it gives insight into the process of many forms of adoption, while still focusing on the family needs as a whole and how important pacing yourself is when becoming a bigger family.
Jonathan Penn
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very full overview that could have a book written on each topic or technique.
Mike Maus
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent information, but I feel like last 2 chapters could have been cut from the book.
The first half had lots of good information. I am mystified as to why they kept padding onto the end with random material.
Mar 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adoption
1. Who is the Hurt Child - understanding the attachment cycle
- choosing the right kind of therapy
2. Dare to Parent
- the fears of hurt children (vulnerability & perceived weakness), parent-centered families
3. What Doesn't Work
- rewards, punishments, withholding love, time outs, grounding, deprivation, anger, equality
4. What Works
- avoid control battles, INconsistency, SPECIFIC praise, flexibility (make his behavior what you want), helping kids differentiate between degrees of good & bad, tough pa
Apr 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In my work as a psychologist for the St. Louis Family court I run across a lot of youths with Reactive Attachment Disorder, from abuse and neglect of a variety of types in their formative years. As a result thse children are very damaged in their ability to form and sustain adaptive relationships, and the task of the adoptive family is to, as best they can, reconstruct (or construct for the first time) more growth-oriented relationship. A daunting task with a very difficult population of "hurt" ...more
Cassie Shepherd
May 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I HIGHLY recommend this book for parents who have adopted. It is the sequel to "Adopting the Hurt Child" and is extremely informative. Raising adopted children can be difficult. Techniques that one might use for children who have not been adopted may not work. It is important to properly understand how to deal with challenges of "hurt children." Keck writes about reactive attachment disorder and its effects. He not only provides the reader with an understanding of these children's backgrounds, b ...more
Nov 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those Yes! Yes! Yes! books. I wish everyone who has adopted or loves a family who has adopted would read this book. I'm only a few chapters in, but it is resounding solidly with me.

Just finished this book. The ending of this book is perfect, and I think you can tell a lot about a book by how it begins and ends. For those who have been personally involved in adoption, either by being the birth parent, adoptee, or adoptive parent - this book is FOR you. And for everyone else, you wi
Sep 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A valuable resource for adoptive parents. I am so glad I read this book. Its tone is realistic but not depressing, so I believe parents would feel empowered by the information, not discouraged by it. The significant trauma some children may have faced in their pasts and the ways that trauma manifests itself in their new adoptive families is addressed. Specific strategies, suggestions, and stories of real families are included. A book to revisit throughout the parenting journey.
The book often cro
Dec 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Abused children learn to rely on control as a means to survive, and it is, indeed, an effective technique. However, once a child leaves the abusive environment, the behavior is no longer necessary or appropriate. In fact, he must learn to abandon his control issues if he is to survive in his new environment. The very things that kept him alive in the pat will ultimately result in a very difficult life - perhaps even death. He must reverse his thinking if he is to truly survive and become a prod ...more
Awesome parenting tips for my family and lots for anyone's family. They give pages of real and easy ideas on how to increase love and trust between you and your children and between siblings. There are fun ideas like becoming sticker sisters (you both wear a matching sticker all day but it's your little secret) or hiding chocolate kisses around the house for when they come home from school but before they can eat them they have to hug and kiss you OR each other for each one they want to eat.

Jan 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adoption
I was directed to this book by our counselor and was so thankful to have read it.
It really spoke to the issues we have been going through with our daughter, who is adopted from China.
This is a great read to examine your approaches and responses, and help give an understanding into your child's complex and deeply ingrained fears and struggles.

Highly recommend this to the adoptive parent working on bonding or attachment concerns.
I thought this book had some gems, with some sections that were really great in teaching empathy and understanding of the unique issues that children who may have traumatic histories are experiencing. But other parts were more frustrating, and the book as a whole was not that intriguing. Very much a parenting book in some ways. So far, I have learned more from reading memoirs which connect to me on a deeper level, but this may work for some parents.
Aug 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Definitely the best book I've read on what happens after adoption. The book tackles how to foster attachment and addresses various issues that adopted children can face. It offers practical advice and suggestions on what to do if the parent and child need more help than a book can provide. I truly hope I won't need this book when my daughter comes home but we may face some of these issues. If so, I have a good resource to turn to. ...more
Jul 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book was actually depressing at the start. I wasn't sure I wanted to read the whole thing, but I am glad I kept with it. Keck & Kupecki offer solid advice that feel matches the personalities of my husband and me. While this book presents worst case scenarios, it also left me feeling hopeful about dealing with whatever potential issues my future adopted child would have. ...more
May 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-own-it, therapy
Although this book is specifically written for parents adopting children older than infancy, I consider it a must read for any parent that has a defiant child. It helps parents get inside the kid's head and get creative about ways of connecting with their child and maintaining a relationship with them, despite how negative their behavior may be. ...more
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really wish I had known about this book when we first began our journey of foster care and adoption 2 years ago. This book has helped me immensely, especially chapter 5: Cinnamon on Applesauce, Nurturing the Hurt Child. What a great read and one I will often refer back to.

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