The Whole Brain Child Summary And Review


What’s in it? Quick Summary

In “The Whole Brain Child,” authors Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson explore how parents can better understand and connect with their children’s brains to promote healthy development.

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind
  • Bantam, A nice option for a Book Lover
  • Condition : Good
  • Ideal for Gifting
  • Siegel M.D., Daniel J. J. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon

You can buy the book in your preferable format below.

Get the Audiobook: Listen free with Audible Trial

Get the Paperback version: View price on Amazon

Get the Hardcover version: View price on Amazon

About the authors

Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and the founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center. He is also the executive director of the Mindsight Institute, which focuses on the development of mindsight, which he describes as “the ability to perceive the mind of the self and others.”

In addition to “The Whole Brain Child,” Dr. Siegel has written several other books on topics related to the mind, including “Mindsight,” “The Developing Mind,” and “Parenting from the Inside Out.”

He is also the author of numerous academic articles and chapters on topics such as attachment theory, memory, and mindfulness.

Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist and the Executive Director of the Center for Connection in Pasadena, California.

She is also the co-author, with Dr. Siegel, of several books, including “No-Drama Discipline” and “The Power of Showing Up.” Dr. Bryson is a frequent speaker and workshop facilitator on topics related to parenting and child development.

The Whole Brain Child Summary

This article summarizes some key lessons from the book, including tips for improving communication, building emotional connections, and promoting a balanced approach to logic and emotion.

By applying these principles, parents can help their children develop important skills like self-awareness, problem-solving, and resilience.

Alrighty, so without further ado, let’s get started.

Lesson #1: Parents should focus on their children’s mental health in the same way they take care of their physical health.

Well, most parent’s love their children.

That’s why they take care of their health.

But when it comes to taking care, most parents only focus on the physical health.

Worldwide, when we discuss health, we usually only consider the physical body.

Mental health is taken very lightly.

So if a child gets sick or hurts himself while playing, parents give full attention.

But when it comes to mental health, many parents are still very unaware about how to take care of it.

Hopefully, this can be easily addressed if all parents start learning about how the children’s brains work.

The brain is a complex and sophisticated machine.

Throughout our day, many things happen subconsciously that we are unaware of most of the time.

And when we try to understand something, we must understand it fully.

Half understanding is dangerous.

It’s like, if you only have knowledge about one part of a machine, you won’t be able to resolve problems that may arise in other parts of it.

You must have complete knowledge of all the different parts of the brain.

Many of us may already know that the left side of the brain helps us think logically, while the right side of the brain is emotional and helps us connect with each other and become more artistic.

Neither part is superior to the other. Both are important.

Just as darkness and lightness coexist to create harmony in the world, the left-brain and right-brain work together to aid the full functioning of the body.

In the upcoming lessons, we will discuss both parts in depth and try to understand how the entire brain of children works during the early stages.

We will also learn how parents can use this knowledge to improve their parenting in general.

Many children fail to use their brain’s full capacity to tackle problems even after they grow up.

Teaching these lessons to kids can help them become more courageous and responsible, as parents play a crucial role in their development.

However, when teaching your children, you do not need to shower them with technical terminology.

Responsible parents first educate themselves. They do not force their children to do things.

They understand that the most effective way to teach children is to model the behavior you want them to exhibit. This will encourage them to follow your lead and emulate your actions.

This parenting style is called “The Whole Brain Parenting.”

Let’s now discuss the different functions of each hemisphere of the brain in maintaining our body and mind’s proper functioning.

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Lesson #2: To understand whole brain parenting, it is essential to have an in-depth understanding of the two hemispheres of the brain.

Think back to when you were 3 to 7 years old.

Were you thinking like a scientist or a philosopher back then, evaluating the complex reality?

Most likely, you didn’t care about any of it. Maybe you watched clouds and wished that someday you could fly on them.

If you are male, perhaps you wished that someday you will get that Ben10 watch and turn into a powerful alien — and save the world from monsters.

Perhaps one day you’ll level up to Super Saiyan like Goku in Dragon Ball Z and save the planet.

And if you are a female, perhaps you wished to be a beautiful princess.

All children have their innocent fantasies they daydream about — that adults know will never come true.

What does this imply?

During the early years of development, all children are right-brain dominant.

They are more creative and able to imagine without any boundaries, as they are not heavily conditioned by society.

When it comes to very young children, such as 3-year-olds, logical thinking is not yet well-developed. Their left-brain is still developing, which makes it difficult for them to speak and understand language or perform mathematical tasks.

That’s why it’s very difficult to control children during their early years. They don’t care and don’t listen, as they don’t understand much.

If you’re a parent and using logic to teach your kid, it’s an unwise move.

Children learn through stories because they are easy to imagine and visualize. Stories stimulate the right hemisphere of the brain.

However, we know that both logic and emotions are important for success and a meaningful life.

Unfortunately, many of us never learn how to use both parts of our brains.

For many people, their logical brain is underdeveloped. This doesn’t mean that they can’t use logic and reasoning; they can, but not to their full capacity.

As human beings, we are largely irrational and act emotionally most of the time.

Even after we grow up, our right brain still dominates our lives to a large extent.

We often rely on our instincts or gut feelings rather than logical reasoning.

It is the responsibility of parents to teach their children how to use both logic and emotions when facing different challenges in life.

It is clear that a balance is needed.

Relying too heavily on either logic or emotion is an unwise approach.

Lesson #3: Use stories, emotions, and non-verbal signals to connect with your child’s right-brain first before you appeal to the left-brain.

We express ourselves through words.

And words only make sense when they are logical.

Otherwise, we call them nonsensical.

It’s difficult to communicate when we don’t have words.

Parents try to use words and logic, hoping they will connect with their children. But in most cases, that logical connection is hardly established. Because children don’t understand logic that well.

Now, the question arises: How should parents communicate with their children?

No matter how intelligent a parent you are, you will never make any sense to your child if you start explaining all the logical fallacies they are committing.

The key is to first build a connection.

And that first connection has to be emotional.

This is the crucial point you must realize.

Without establishing that first emotional connection, you’ll probably fail to build that logical connection, well, unless the child is a genius or gifted in logical reasoning.

Now, how to build that emotional connection?

Use physical touch.

Touch your child with care and speak with empathy. Show that you care.

First, make your child comfortable, then tell stories to help them calm down.

Put yourself in your children’s shoes.

Imagine how you would feel as a child if you had a negative experience.

Imagine how you would feel if nobody could understand your emotions.

Deep down, all children and even adults crave love.

By showing love and support, you appeal to the right-brain of your child.

Once this happens, you can begin integrating the left brain.

You can only have logical discussions with your child when they are emotionally comfortable.

And although it may sound difficult, in practice, it is easy to do.

To simplify things, try thinking like a child.

You don’t always need to act like an adult and make things complicated.

Lesson #4: Understand the upstairs and downstairs brain to figure out when to take and give authority.

As we discussed earlier, the brain is already divided into different hemispheres, which are left and right.

But there is another way to look at the brain.

Divide them into upstairs brain and downstairs brain.

Upstairs brain controls:

  • Thinking
  • Reasoning
  • Problem-solving
  • Planning

Downstairs brain controls:

  • Safety
  • Reactive & Defensive responses

In simple words: The Upstairs Brain is your more evolved, thinking, and receptive part of the brain. And the Downstairs Brain is the old, reactive, and defensive part of the brain that helps you in the survival.

The upstairs brain is mostly your cortex.

And the downstairs brain is mostly controlled by the Amygdala.

If you don’t know what the Cortex and Amygdala are, you can read the book summary of Rewire Your Anxious Brain.

Now, the question is: How can parents appeal to both of these brains?

It’s worth noting that for parents sometimes need to act as an authority for the good of their children. Because children aren’t experienced, and their brain still hasn’t fully developed yet.

So if a parent has to show authority, they can appeal to the downstairs brain, as it’s more primitive.

But overdoing it can cause feelings of bitterness in the child, so to avoid that, parents should also appeal to the upstairs brain by encouraging a problem-solving attitude in their children.

This also gives children the courage to build self-confidence and critical thinking, which are essential to tackle problems in life.

The challenge is: How to practically do all these things?

Appealing both upstairs and downstairs brain according to different situations can be challenging.

The upstairs brain isn’t fully developed until the mid-20s, while the downstairs brain is developed at birth.

Parents find it hard to communicate with their kids because the upstairs part responsible for understanding emotions, feelings, morality, etc. is still under-construction.

The author recommends that you engage the upstairs brain time to time and try to avoid enraging the downstairs brain by acknowledging the feelings of their children.

When children get enraged, they are flooded by emotions like anger and jealousy. And it becomes even harder to appeal to their upstairs brain.

If you are a parent, you’ll frequently find yourself in such power-struggles. If you show too much authority, you risk getting disconnected. And if you are too submissive, you risk losing authority.

Try to avoid both the extreme scenarios.

Naturally, at some point, compromises are to be made in the power by sharing responsibility.

Parents need to be meticulous while dealing with their children and keep tabs on what part of their brain is dominant in different situations.

Setting limits and boundaries is also important.

While sometimes, it’s not necessary to engage at all. Silence can do the trick.

Lesson #5: Our memories are not really recorded videos.

The author discusses two different types of memory in the book: Implicit and Explicit.

Many of us think of our memories as recorded videos, don’t we?

But they are not exactly that.

Try thinking about a past event. Recall a movie you watched earlier.

You won’t be able to recall it with full accuracy.

When we recall our past memories, we tend to distort them.

If two people watch the same movie today and try to recall it a month later, they will likely tell different stories.

Don’t get this wrong: This doesn’t mean that they will remember all the things incorrectly.

They might very well remember many things precisely.

But some parts of their story may not accurately represent what really happened.

Our minds don’t really function like computer hard disks.

As we are constantly firing neurons and making new connections, the things we remember may become distorted.

When we recall something, we are using our explicit memory.

But this isn’t the only memory we have.

Remember, we also have habits.

Our habits are implicit memories.

You don’t need to learn to type on your keyboard again, once you have learned it. All the processing is stored somewhere in the brain, so we don’t need to start from scratch every time.

Pretty convenient, isn’t it?

We are unconsciously using these memories all the time.

And to have more in-depth understanding about them is very crucial.

Memories play a big role when it comes to dealing with bad experiences. And the stories you tell yourself affect how quickly you move on from them.

Experiences can be good or bad, but whether you want to keep clinging to them and feel sad, it’s your choice.

“How to deal with bad experiences” is a skill parents should try to teach their kids.

This helps children become more mature as they grow up.

The author suggests that if parents encourage children to discuss their daily experiences and feelings, they will become more self-aware, which is important in life.

The only challenge is that you can’t transfer your understanding of life to your kids.

You have to allow them to develop their own understanding by discovering their true emotions and feelings and understanding them.

Lesson #6: Teach your kids that emotions and feelings are temporary.

Children often worry about silly things that don’t make any sense in the long term.

They are acting on the basis of their feelings all the time, they lack maturity obviously, and it’s not their fault.

We all behave like that when we are children.

The problem with feelings is that they don’t allow us to think clearly.

When the emotions are flooding your mind, it’s difficult to assess the situation properly. And you become more prone to making bad decisions.

This is why it’s important that parents teach these things to their children as early as possible.

Now, some parents will think that this will be impossible. Because it’s difficult for even adults to accept their feelings and watch their internal world.

But the catch is: Children have a much higher possibility of learning quickly.

You just need to train them the right way.

For instance, you can give them fun exercises like:

  • Writing down what they are feeling in the present moment.
  • Writing down what kind of experiences made them feel good or bad throughout the day.
  • Documenting what kinds of feelings they want to experience more and why.

Over time, children must realize that feelings and emotions are temporary. And over-reliance on them is not useful to make wise decisions.

This will help them calm down during tough situations. For example, if they experience a failure, they won’t cry all day and move on quickly.

This will also help them build discipline.

This will help them realize that all people have good and bad times.

Knowing the internal world is the most important thing in the world. And must be taught to all the children by their parents.

But again, parents must learn it first because it can be challenging to pass on wisdom to your children. It requires great thoughtfulness and care.

The relationship that children have with their parents also determines how socially adept they are, including how well they communicate with and empathize with others.

Parents can teach their children so many things while playing together and make life fun.

The Whole Brain Child Review

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind
  • Bantam, A nice option for a Book Lover
  • Condition : Good
  • Ideal for Gifting
  • Siegel M.D., Daniel J. J. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon

The book is beneficial for parents.

The best part is that it discusses building self-awareness and discipline, which are essential traits for all individuals in today’s world.

It will help parents connect with their children more easily.

It was a great read.

You can buy the book in your preferable format below.

Get the Audiobook: Listen free with Audible Trial

Get the Paperback version: View price on Amazon

Get the Hardcover version: View price on Amazon

Now It’s Your Turn

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Thanks for reading.

Shami Manohar

The Brain Behind

I am Shami Manohar, the founder of WizBuskOut. My obsession with non-fiction books has fueled me with the energy to create this website. I read at least one book every week on topics such as business, critical thinking, mindset, psychology, and more.

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