Book Review: The Whole-Brain Child

The Whole-Brain Child

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The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson is a book that has been sitting on my virtual book shelf (Kindle library) for years. I am happy to report that 1. Marie Kondo was wrong and if you’re anything like me, you absolutely read books that have been sitting on your shelf unread and 2. this book met my expectations.

I anticipated a book aimed at early childhood that gives parents a better understanding of the behind-the-scenes brain work underneath their child’s emotions and behavior. I am happy to report that it did just that. You will get a good foundation of the left-right and upper-lower brain workings in addition to some basic how-to’s and concrete examples. They emphasize connection first with a narrative approach to healing which as an attachment parenting advocate and narrative therapist, you know I love.

They do, however, present all of their material within a mainstream parenting framework. I lost count of how many times they qualified their recommendations for empathy, connection, and communication with various iterations of, ‘OF COURSE, children need to respect their parent’s authority and no means no,’ alongside the assumption that all parents work, all kids are in school, and all remaining time is spent in extra curriculars. It’s definitely a ‘let’s make relationships better from within the system’ book but that’s valuable too (whereas I tend to metaphorically blow the system up).

I would be lying if I said I learned anything from it but that’s as it should be having spent tens of thousands of dollars and many years in higher education studying psychology and child development. If you’re attending the mom school of life, I would definitely recommend this as one of your textbooks. You’ll get some important understanding for the low, low price of a book.

Now head on over to the Sage Parenting Tribe, search the book title and comment to join the discussion! Any a-ha moments with enthusiastic nodding or side eye as you digested something unsavory? Let’s chat!

Next month, we dive into Sage Homeschooling: Wild and Free. So grab your copy, settle into a good bedtime cuddle, and get reading.

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