Tag Archives: adoption

Therapeutically Parenting Teens, book review time

Julie Selwyn’s groundbreaking report into adoption breakdown  found that around one third of adoptions pass smoothly, around a third of families were mostly getting on OK but with ups and downs, and the other third were having significant difficulties. If you’ve found it as far as my website then I’m assuming you’re probably not in the first third, and if that’s the case you may well be interested in what Sally Donovan has to say in her latest book: The Unofficial Guide to Therapeutic Parenting, The Teen Years.

Picking up where the earlier guide left off, Sally’s children are now very definitely teenagers, and she shares the wisdom and advice that she has accumulated and tested in the safety of her home. (Yes – there is an emphasis on ensuring that home is a safe place for all.) The material is distinctly heavy at times, but the tone is light in a way that does not minimize the issues but makes it possible to read without running away in horror. There is a focus particularly on the continuing and damaging impact of trauma, which is amplified by the teenage brain’s rewiring exercise; and also on the realities of the internet and social media – a foreign country for most parents even now. Separate chapters cover siblings, education, self-care, and practical tips for family and professionals. The really scary stuff, which you hope will not affect most families, has its own chapter, for those who want or need to know about the grooming of vulnerable young people, and exploitation within the drugs world; as does the realities of supporting a young person when they have to move out into independent living.

There are images and ideas that will stick with me for a long time, and teasers too. I will never look at a North Face jacket in the same way again, and I will drink herbal tea in future with a little more irony!

Sally is keen that there should be hope shining through and I believe she has achieved this; but for hope to survive, there needs to be understanding from friends, family and professionals, walking alongside. If more people read books such as this, then this hope can live.

Sally and I met recently at the Jessica Kingsley Publishers headquarters, to record a podcast for subscribers to the JKP newsletter. You can listen to our discussions here.


The Unofficial Guide to Therapeutic Parenting, The Teen Years

Sally Donovan

Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2019



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Unless we address the issues behind CPV, “we are committing children to failure”

Tuesday, this week, saw an explosion across the media within Britain of items on the challenges of adoption, particularly the impact of child to parent violence.

The BBC’s joint investigation with Adoption UK culminated in a 40 minute File on 4 radio programme, Adoption: Families in Crisis, which was picked up on national and local stations, and TV programmes such as Victoria Derbyshire; interviewing families and organisations and further unpacking the crises in which many families find themselves. Continue reading


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Adopting: real life stories



I was a bit surprised when this book first dropped through my letter box. I hadn’t offered to review it and so for a while it lay on a very tall pile of “books to read when I have some spare time”. But of course the title should have given it away…

If anyone was thinking that love is all that’s needed, or was tempted ever to say that “all kids do that”, then this is a book for them! Not that it’s all doom and gloom by any means. Adoption stories are statistically more often positive and affirming, but it is a sad fact that as many as a third of families will experience real struggles (see Beyond the Adoption Order) and Ann Morris quietly and without drama shows us both sides of the coin. Continue reading

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#CPV: What does it look like, part 2. Intent stuff

One of the issues that makes it difficult for us all to talk about child to parent violence and abuse is the fact that there is no one agreed definition. The one I tend to use when speaking to people is that proposed by Amanda Holt:

“A pattern of behaviour, instigated by a child or young person, which involves using verbal, financial, physical and /or emotional means to practice power and exert control over a parent”, and “the power that is practised is, to some extent, intentional, and the control that is exerted over a parent is achieved through fear, such that a parent unhealthily adapts his / her own behaviour to accommodate the child.” Continue reading


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Non-Violent Resistance, a review of one day training

This post was written for The Adoption Social website by Sarah last week, and I have reposted it here with permission. I know that there are many ‘views’ of this site in respect of NVR, and so I hope it will be useful. Similarly, if you have an interest in adoption matters, The Adoption Social is an important and valuable resource.

Sarah from The Puffin Diaries shares her thoughts on a Non-Violent Resistance course she attended.

Recently my husband and I attended a course based on the practice of NVR, Non-Violent Resistance. This course was hosted by PAC and delivered by Rachael Alymer of Partnership Projects.

The first thing that struck myself, my husband and indeed many others, was that we were a room, full with over thirty people and everyone of us had experienced violence from their child. This in its self had a huge impact on many of us; there was an instant feeling of not being alone. Continue reading

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