The Whole Brain Child

Every parent should buy this book. Siegel and Bryson do an excellent job of breaking down parenting as a process and not an event.

They teach the reader how to navigate through the right brain, left brain model. So if your child is having a right brain meltdown, they teach you how to reach them there before you move to logic. Some parents will find that to be a basic skill, but many will find it very new and rewarding.

Understanding the idea of an upstairs and downstairs brain is also a major accomplishment in this book. Most of the time, we as a people do not give thought to the why of what we do. This book helps explain a more integrated approach to parenting. One of the most controversial parts of the book will no doubt be when the author’s take on the idea that parents should ignore tantrums. They dare to suggest that actually attempting to teach your child to process their feelings in the middle of the tantrum could be the best approach.

Another excellent take-away with this book is the idea that parents need to move away from denying and dismissing their child’s feelings. Too often, I see parents dismiss their child’s feelings because the feelings manifest in a way that the parent doesn’t like or the parent doesn’t know how to process his or her own feelings.

This book does an excellent job of helping understand how to process emotions in a healthy way. If you child is experiencing fear, there are simple and real life takeaways that you can utilize to help them. If your child is angry with you because you set a boundary for them, there are easy to use ways that you can help your child express that in a healthy way! This is one of the best aspects of this book.

Lastly, this book gives a very cursory overview of mirror neurons. They are amazing and we all have them. If you have angry children, it might be because you are angry. Our brains are wired for “we” is an exact quote from the book. As parents, we have to be integrated in order to raise integrated children. This book will find a lot of push back by the far right who believe a parents number one goal is to punish the evil out of their children and by those who find it doesn’t match the way they parented.

Regardless, buy it. You will not regret it. In fact, I suspect that you will be very happy that you did.

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Filed under Marriage and Family

2 responses to “The Whole Brain Child

  1. Hello. Tina Bryson here (co-author of this book) and it’s so rewarding to hear how much folks are enjoying the book. You’re right. . . one of the biggest revolutionary things we discuss in the book is the science of tantrums and how when we understand how our child’s brain works, we will likely want to respond differently. I just wrote an article on just this topic and about which message we want to send our kids:

    Message 1: You’re on your own if you get angry and upset. I love you, and I’ll be here for you once you’re done throwing your fit; but as long as you keep acting this way, I’m going to ignore you. So hurry up and finish being upset.

    Message 2: I’m here for you even when you’re falling apart and at your absolute worst. I can take it. I’ve got your back.

    You can read the full article about why I think ignoring tantrums isn’t the best approach here:’s-health-blog-missed-the-boat/

    Thanks for the nice review!

    • Joe

      I really enjoyed reading your book. Thanks for stopping by here and reading my review.
      I was wondering if you would mind doing a short (five question) blog interview for my personal webpage? I can email you the questions.

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