Sophie Spikey learned very early in life that it was best to look after herself. She has a new family now, but it is hard for her to give up old ways, that used to keep her safe. Hard to hold in her heart that she is loveable & will be cared for. Sophie has lost her shoes & is determined to sort it out alone. It takes a kind & patient mum to help her understand why this is so tricky, & to get through the muddle that unfolds. This is a clever story that empathically captures the struggles of many children with developmental trauma, as well as conveying therapeutic parenting ideas in a useful & relatable way.
Adoptive parents & carers of traumatised children with attachment difficulties, face big challenges to helping their child recover from their experiences. A child who fears relationships & is hypervigilant for signs of danger, does not trust in adults’ good intentions. They feel full of shame & look for signs to confirm they are bad kids. They are controlling – to avoid the risk of painful rejection by others. Parents & carers can feel out of their depth & worry about making things worse. Support to make sense of what is going on underneath their child’s behaviour is important. Opportunities to see & practice therapeutic parenting responses can build confidence & resilience. Parents & carers can learn how to stay more open & engaged, in the face of their child’s defensiveness & resistance.
Sophie has difficulties with organisational skills; with asking for help & with suspicion of other people’s motives – so many of our children will be able to relate to this & especially as it is explored with empathy & acceptance & just the right amount of playfulness. A lovely narrative for joining up thoughts, emotions & feelings in the body & how these impact on behaviour. When mum takes Sophie for a hot chocolate, we get to see ‘connection before correction’ in action – our relationship is the most important thing & we can figure anything else out together. I am interested in understanding what happened to you rather than questioning what’s wrong with you.
Sophie Spikey has a Very Big Problem is a helping story that offers much to parents & children alike. Sarah & Rosie’s valuable lived experience as adoptive parent & daughter shines through in the language & understanding. When Sophie Spikey goes to bed at the end of a long day, she feels a warmth inside from her hot chocolate – & just maybe a sense of connection & hope.