Parenting From a Whole Brain Perspective

Recently, I read the book The Whole Brain Child by Daniel Siegel and Tina Bryson. This book’s goal is to provide information about how the brain works and how to respond more effectively to your child so that parenting is providing a strong foundation for children to develop socially, emotionally, and mentally.

The parts that I found especially helpful in this book were:

  • An introduction to integrating the left and right side of the brain – As a therapist, I believe that a balanced logical side of the brain and emotional side of the brain creates stability and the ability to manage emotions well.
  • The upstairs and downstairs parts of the brain – The downstairs brain includes the limbic region and the brain stem. This region is responsible for basic functioning and instinctive impulses, reactions, and strong emotions. The upstairs brain is made up of the cerebral cortex and its various parts. The upstairs brain is in charge of creating intricate mental processes.
  • Explicit and Implicit Memories – Implicit memory encodes our perceptions, emotions, and bodily sensations. These types of memories also create our expectations based on our past experiences. Often times these memories can create fear or avoidance at an unconscious level which can help to explain children and adults over or under reacting in certain situations.
  • Awareness of thoughts and feelings – Awareness to our internal dialogues and our bodily sensations is critical in order to gain control of our emotions. This book talks in depth about what that can look like for children and how to implement some strategies.

Not only is the book helpful for understanding our children’s needs and parenting them effectively, but it can also be helpful for adults in gaining insight into why our emotions can take control and what we really need in that moment.

Written by: Chelsey Beauchamp