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Brains and Kids

Book: The Whole-Brain Child by Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson (2011)

This book looks at parenting from a neurological perspective. To be clear, it is a parenting book, and also a self-help book, so one needs to look at it through that lens. With that said, I found it interesting and parts of it helpful.

When the authors were giving examples, I pictured in my mind these children who have a behavioral dilemma, and these parents who come along-side the child and have a brilliant, compassionate, and slick discussion with the child about what is happening, and then things are better from there. The authors do mention quite a bit that parents need to be mindful of their timing when they intervene with their child's behavior (e.g., some kids might not be ready to discuss their experience immediately following a tantrum), and also that the focus should not be on stopping negative behaviors, but instead on developing skills in children for physical and emotional self-management. Even still, I cannot say I have ever, personally or professionally, had the type of cut and dry interactions with children that these authors describe. I don't think the examples in the book are necessarily irrelevant. I think instead that this book falls victim to the same challenges with believability and accessibility that all self-help books have. It's a static source of information, and thus is limited in its ability to guide and teach.

With that said, the explanations of sources of behavior problems, developmental stages and challenges, styles of parent interactions and interventions and reasoning behind such were all excellent. Again, this might be a book I would read and discuss with my co-parent, a parenting group, or a parenting professional as I found much of it profound and worth contemplation and study.

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