Damn That Dan Hughes!

Originally posted March 2, 2011



My sincere apologies to Mr. Hughes, as I mean it with the utmost respect.

You see, he kicks my butt.

I am finally working my way through his most recent book, “Attachment-Focused Parenting: Effective Strategies to Care for Children.” And, as I said … it is kicking my BUUUUUTT.

In a good way.

What I really, really love about this work is that it’s not a book specifically for parenting traumatized children. It’s a book for all parents, but written by a man who has treated some deeply hurting kids. His insights apply to all children in all homes. He challenges the default parenting methods that we use most often, because that’s the way we were raised, and the way our parents were raised and so on, and so on.

He challenges you to see it in another way. To improve your parenting, and ultimately improve yourself.

It is really hard to change your defaults. It is especially difficult when your parenting default is a cultural norm that has repeated itself for generations. IT IS HARD TO DO! I know plenty of you read my blog and think, “Whew! I’m glad I don’t have to think so much about how I approach my kids. So glad I’m not parenting trauma!”

Check this out:

With lectures we are actually educating our child to comply with authority rather than to develop his own meaning about an issue or event.”

For a parent to facilitate these reciprocal conversations, she needs to feel safe herself. If she does not feel safe when her child questions her authority, she is likely to become angry and insist on compliance.”

And like my Uncle Hubert used to say (I just made that up), “You cain’t make nobody do nuthin’ they don’t wanna’ do.”

And then I read …

Focusing on compliance and objective knowledge, we conclude that our child agrees with us when, in fact, our child is often simply either using the quickest means of ending the lecture or is truly complying with our thoughts and intentions at the price of failing to develop his own.”

The last chapter focuses specifically on children from histories of trauma, but the entire book applies. The parents with neurotypical children can use every single inch of this thing.

Hang with it. Chapter 4 will piss you off. Read it anyway. Chapter 5 will start to get you back in the game.

I guess you might say I highly recommend it.