6 Books for Parenting Children from Hard Places

by David Cross, Ph.D., Casey Call, Ph.D. and Emmelie Pickett

With so many parenting books on the market, it can be difficult to narrow down which resources will be most helpful to parents with children from hard places. While every family’s needs are unique, we’ve curated a list of books that we recommend for parents who are parenting children from hard places of abuse, neglect, and/or trauma.

1. The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to your Adoptive Family

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

DR. CALL: The Connected Child was written with adoptive parents in mind, but it gives great, practical tips for parenting any child. Its wisdom applies to all kinds of human relationships, from marriage to colleagues at work.




2. The Out-of-Sync Child

Carol Kranowitz

DR. CROSS: The Out-of-Sync Child has transformed our understanding of why some children behave the way they do; it has shed light on the mysteries of sensory processing, and in so doing has pointed the way for helping countless children “fit in” where in the past they have been outcasts. Truthfully, this book is helpful to all parents to help understand how children process sensory information and might help them look out for signs of sensory processing disorders. It’s also full of practical tools such as how to create a sensory-rich environment and how to talk with teachers about sensory issues in the classroom.



3. The Whole-Brained Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind

Daniel J. Siegel, Tina Payne Bryson

DR. CALL: The Whole-Brain Child distills the wisdom of the neurosciences into a series of simple messages that work for everyone, parents and professionals alike. It’s simple and filled with mnemonics to help parents remember the concepts. There are even tools at the end of each chapter to help teach children about their brains.




4. Getting to Calm: Cool Headed Strategies for Parenting Tweens + Teens

Laura Kastner, Jennifer Wyatt 

DR. CROSS: Getting to Calm is a dream come true for parents of teens: It contains numerous strategies for parenting teens, all based on the central fact that effective parenting begins and ends with staying calm.




5. Touchpoints – Birth to Three

T. Berry Brazelton, Joshua D. Sparrow

DR. CALL: The Touchpoints model is so respectful to how children develop and this book gives insights on all aspects of development at certain “touchpoints” throughout life. This approach helps caregivers know what to expect and realize that seemingly strange behaviors are normal. For example,  as certain touchpoints such as motor skills progress, another touchpoint like sleep, may regress. This model translates a deep understanding of development and complex systems into a simple, practical framework that families can easily implement. 




6. Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul

Stuart Brown, Christopher Vaughan

DR. CROSS: Play brings play to the forefront of the national consciousness, where it belongs. Play is not only the well-spring of physical, social, and emotional well-being, but it is the surest diagnostic of mental and physical health: If a child (or an adult) is incapable of play, there is no surer sign that they are not well.

8 Responses to “6 Books for Parenting Children from Hard Places”

  1. Stephanie Cavner

    Hello. Please send more information as you share. Thank you!

  2. Candace Curry

    Hi there! I heard about your books… long after we had finished parenting our children unfortunately! Our middle son who was adopted had huge issues, but now he has adjusted into a healthy functioning adult. I am trying to help another grandmother who is parenting her grandchild with explosive temper issues and manipulation issues. I talked to her about “children from hard places “ and would appreciate your direction on what resources to get her or to suggest. She took in her granddaughter at the age of 10 months, and now the little girl is six and controlling the home. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
    Thank you!
    Candace Curry

  3. Emma

    Hi there I’m wondering if you have a book about adoption ? I’m looking for a book that I can read and share with my 4year old daughter to explain that she’s adopted

  4. Maureen Armas-Wess

    Adoptive mom, would appreciate learning about resources to help.

  5. Emily Burnette

    I am starting a nonprofit and you want to go focuses is getting drama trained individuals to our local women’s shelters. As a former foster parent I know that trauma affects children greatly and often what we see on the outside as discipline issues is much more. Do you suggest any of your books over the others for those families it will be coming to participate? Also I host an annual conference here and one of the mothers is wanting to talk to families specifically who are homeschooling children who have been adopted and you know a lot of them come from trauma backgrounds. Are there specific books you would suggest for this?
    I would love to know more.

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