Raising children who refuse to be raised - H÷fundur: Dave Ziegler, Ph.D

Raising Children who Refuse to Be Raised is a handbook no natural, foster or adoptive parent should be without. Anyone who lives or works with children with multiple problems who are also frightened, traumatized and angry will benefit from the advice of this master counselor and foster parent.

This book provides a clear explanation for what happens to our most difficult children - the ones who have survived neglect, abuse, abandonment, and lack of attachment. Mr. Ziegler offers hope that even the hardest kids can be helped to gain the necessary skills to become functioning adults, but he is realistic about what that might look like. This book is written for both the therapist and the parent. As a parent, I found his suggestions of consistency, of maintaining safe control, of providing opportunities for the child to fill in the gaps in their attachment, and of giving the child experiences that can build a sense of belonging and competency to be common-sense and doable. I only wish there had been more examples of what that looks like. My other complaint about the book is technical. My copy had a distracting number of proof-reading errors. I only hope that has been fixed in subsequent printings! Finally, I appreciated the final chapter where Dr. Ziegler talks about parenting as a personal spiritual journey. In a job with little to recommend it (parenting an emotionally disturbed child), putting the focus on personal development gives a parent a sense that what they are doing does matter - even if the child makes choices that are in opposition to what would be best for themselves. I also found it reassuring to read a professional talking realistically about how dangerous children can be. Among those who don't have personal experience with emotionally disturbed children, there is often the attitude that everything can be cured with love, that children can't really be that dangerous, etc. The sad reality is something far different.