The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D. ~ Post 1

I was first introduced to “The Whole Brain Child” several years ago, in the height of my frustration and disillusionment as a parent (see Why Book-a-Month under the Start Here tab). Although the authors do an excellent job translating the latest research in neuroscience via illustrated comic-style panels and engaging narratives of real parent-child interactions, the concepts still overwhelmed that “younger me.”

I understood the idea of integration (all parts of the brain working together) as a textbook definition of mental health, but my personal experience was often far from it. When the authors described a canoe on the “river of well-being” (p. 11), I saw myself bouncing back-and-forth from bank to bank – between chaos on one side (think out-of-control rapids) and rigidity on the other (imagine a stagnant pool laced with inflexible tree roots). I rarely experienced the peace of floating in the middle.

I also noticed that my kids’ age-appropriate outbursts frequently triggered my own “big emotions.” I felt ashamed that although I was the adult in the situation, I was unable to regulate myself much less assist my kids. I sensed there was treasure inside this book, but I allowed the dragon of my own fears to derail my quest.

I wish I had read the last chapter first!

Here are a few snippets from the Conclusion:

“Don’t put too much pressure on yourself…. the beauty of the whole brain perspective is that it lets you understand even the mistakes are opportunities to grow and learn.” (p. 148)

 “You don’t need to become a perfect super parent or follow some prescribed agenda that programs your kids to be ideal little robot children.” (p. 148)

“[It] can feel intimidating at first… but if you really get the concept of The Whole Brain Child at its essence,you’ll see that it can liberate you from your fears that you’re not doing a good enough job with your kids. It’s not your responsibility to avoid all mistakes… Instead, your job is to be present with your children and connect with them through the ups and downs of life’s journey.”


So, if you need a little encouragement, jump to the Conclusion before you read Chapter 1! It might just be the pep talk you need.

Next post: How I made an effort to apply Whole Brain principles to my family this month!

Feel free to share your thoughts with me below.

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