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Building the Bonds of Attachment, second edition

by Daniel A. Hughes Jason Aronson; $34.95

Buy this book

Everyone’s read them—those books that fundamentally change the way you look at things. Before reading Building the Bonds of Attachment, I had read a great deal on the subject. Despite recurring behavioral problems with my older child, I thought I was on the right track. Then I read Hughes’s book and finally understood what I had to do to help my daughter.

This book follows a girl named Katie through foster placements, and, finally, a match with a loving parent named Jackie. The characters and situations are fictional composites of cases Hughes has encountered over his many years as a therapist. It reads like a compelling novel, making it stand out from typically dry attachment literature.

Hughes tells us that we must parent with an attitude of love, empathy, playfulness, and acceptance, and gives concrete examples of how this looks and works. One vital thing I took away was that I needed to take control of meeting my daughter’s basic needs for her to learn to trust me. I give her a plate of food at mealtimes, I decide how she helps me around the house, I tell her when it’s time to play. Before, I’d had a tendency to “give in” to my daughter, but my concessions were making her more anxious, not less. Despite the scary subtitle, Awakening Love in Deeply Troubled Children, this is a book I’d recommend to every adoptive parent.

Reviewed by Ann Keisling, a documentary filmmaker. She and her husband have adopted two children.

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