By Zulhilmi Ibrahim

The first time I laid eyes on the book, I was hooked. I guess it is mainly because of my interest in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, thus giving me the notion that, well, not everyone would want to read this kind of writing. Boy, was I wrong. After having finished reading it, I cannot help but think that everyone should read it.“The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog” by Dr. Bruce D. Perry and Maia Szalavitz is a compilation of carefully selected cases from the notebook of Dr. Bruce Perry, a child psychiatrist.

Though I have to say, it is somewhat dry, a bit medical and factual that if you are going for leisure reading, this might not be a good book (which explains why I took so long to finish it). He explained the cases through a neuropsychiatric point of view, which I think could serve as a revision for your neurology (TSM) block in a very, very interesting way! Some of the points are quite repetitive, but hey, that is what the author wanted to emphasize, and it also means that the root of the problem is pretty much the sameIn contrast to what some parents believe, that children need to be exposed to many new things to learn, they actually need repetition, routine and things they can comfortably predict. Make things unpredictable and chaotic, they will go haywire. You see kids who appeared naughty and spoilt and you quickly pass a judgment. This book will change your perspective and open a door to the possible reasons.

Mind you, it is about traumatized and neglected children, and a lot of those cases will make you gasp and shake your head in disbelief, some are heart wrenching and some will attract invisible ninjas chopping onions around you, if you know what I mean. Some are deliberate sexual and physical abuse, and some are innocent, unintentional acts from parents and caretakers. I even need to filter which chapter is “safe” for my wife to read, afraid that it will overwhelm her. The cases perhaps are a bit on the extreme side, but really, the fundamentals are there; what can go wrong and how. And these are the gems from the book that I find each and every one of us should know. Especially the unintentional ones, as they can be avoided by simply… knowing.

Children have always been my passion as truly, they are the leaders of tomorrow. We shape them, hence, we shape the future. I refuse to believe that it is all about the parents as to what will become of their children. Yes, a big chunk of their lives are influenced by the parents/caretakers, but the community, you and me, also play important roles in their upbringing as well. I don’t think I can do justice to his writing by trying to explain it here, so I will just let you read it yourself.

P/S: I never really understood how “Munchausen-by-proxy” syndrome or “fabricated illness”  is a form of abuse towards children until I read this book. So read it!


About The Author

Multi-talent. Multi-disciplinary. My only wish is to perform to my true calibre... and living life!

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