Your toddler throws a tantrum in the middle of a store. Your preschooler refuses to get dressed. Your eleven-year-old sulks on the bench instead of playing on the field. Do children conspire to make their parents’ lives endlessly challenging? No — it’s just their developing brain calling the shots.
In this pioneering, practical book, Daniel J. Siegel, neuropsychiatrist and author of the bestselling Mindsight, and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson demystify the meltdowns and aggravation, explaining the new science of how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures. The ‘upstairs brain’, which makes decisions and balances emotions, is under construction until the mid-twenties. And especially in young children, the right brain and its emotions tend to rule over the logic of the left brain.
By applying these discoveries to everyday parenting, you can turn any outburst, argument, or fear into a chance to integrate your child’s brain and foster vital growth. With clear explanations, age-appropriate strategies for dealing with day-to-day struggles, and illustrations that will help you explain these concepts to your child, The Whole-Brain Child shows you how to cultivate healthy emotional and intellectual development so that your children can lead balanced, meaningful, and connected lives.
Neuropsychiatrist Siegel (Parenting from the Inside Out) teams up with psychotherapist Bryson in this brain guidebook for parents. The authors assert that parents can have a positive and important impact on helping kids develop brain skills. Siegel and Bryson clearly explain how the brain develops, pointing out specific examples of the brain at work in various situations (e.g., a four-year-old who melts down when left at preschool is working from her right brain; a 12-year-old who denies her emotions after a quarrel with a friend operates from the left brain). The authors offer 12 strategies parents can use to help their children integrate the various parts of the brain. For instance, a strategy called "Connect and Redirect" is used when a child is having a tantrum; it's best to connect with the right or emotional side of the brain, offering comfort, and later appeal to the left or logical brain when the child has calmed down (when a child is upset, logic often doesn't work). Siegel and Bryson reveal that an integrated brain with parts that cooperate in a coordinated and balanced manner creates a better understanding of self, stronger relationships, and success in school, among other benefits. With illustrations, charts, and even a handy "Refrigerator Sheet," the authors have made every effort to make brain science parent-friendly.