The Whole Brain Child

The Whole Brain Child

By @DrDanSiegal M.D. & @TinaBryson

The Whole Brain Child is an analysis of how a child’s brain is structured and how it develops. The book takes data and explains it in a very easy manner. The authors present applicable illustrations on how the brain research can relate to parenting.

The book starts with the theory that everyday parenting problems can be turned into a chance to teach children important experiences, like conflict resolution, perspective-taking, and emotional understanding of feelings or problems. The book discusses 12 Revolutionary Strategies to educate your child’s developing mind. The strategies include how a child’s brain is shaped, how it develops and how to keep the portion of the brain absorbed for self-regulation.

It is suggested in the book that by applying the authors strategies, you can alter explosions, tantrums and disagreements into a chance to boost sociable and emotional development. The authors give strategies for parenting to assist the parent by providing effective brain integration in your children from birth through 12 years old.

The book examines the ideas to apply daily skills to help incorporate the right and left hemispheres of the brain, and the upper and lower network of the brain while enhancing memory, and the distinctive facets of character.

The strategies suggested in the book that will help parents raise an emotionally intelligent, calmer, and happier child are summarized:

Strategy #1 – Connect and Redirect:

The authors recommend that when your child is having a tantrum, recognize your child’s emotions by identifying and accepting their feelings (e.g., “you look unhappy”) before attempting to rationalize with them. When children appear to be heard and accepted they are more eager to improve their behavior.

Strategy #2 – Name It to Tame It:

When the feelings that come with the right side of the brain (e.g., terror, disappointment, etc.) are provoked, assist your child to control what’s agitating them by saying a story about it. Your child’s left-brain applies his/her receptiveness to speech and conversations, which permits them to understand their know-how.

Strategy #3 – Engage, Don’t Enrage; Appealing to the Upstairs Brain:

The Front Cortex (i.e., “upstairs brain”) is accountable for observation and organizational abilities. The sub-cortex (i.e., “downstairs brain”) controls the fight or flight behavior and reveals feelings. Parents can use the upstairs brain by questioning, confirming the child’s feelings and recommending options (e.g., “you look angry, what happened?”) instead of setting off the downstairs brain by making ultimatums. Angry replies, such as “because I said you so” or “you will pay attention to me,” often sets off the downstairs brain and makes the child further agitated and unable to think rationally.

Strategy #4 – Use it or Lose it:

Giving your child a chance to construct the “upstairs brain” entails role-playing, problem solving, and playing… “What would you do?” This particular strategy builds very important reasoning skills such as negotiating and finding the middle ground with peers. It inspires arranging, organizing, and preparing while using logic.

Strategy #5 – Move it or Lose It:

Having your child shift, shimmy, sway or relocate his/her body can be a positive approach to get him/her to join with their upstairs brain when they get secured in the downstairs brain. Stretching, rocking, shaking, or doing the twist, are a good illustration of move it or lose it. This strategy is a body over mind approach to replenish equilibrium.

Strategy #6 – Use the Remote of the Mind:

Encourage your child to make constructive memories more clear by having them describe a hurtful or challenging incident and apply what is defined as the “Remote of the Mind.” This allows him/her time out to retract the event so that he/she can have direction on how to formulate, regard, examine or decipher. The strategy instructs your children to exam his/her memories while keeping authority.

Strategy #7 – Remember to Remember:

Provide your child with a good deal of drills recalling meaningful experiences by having him/her reminiscence experiences soon after they occur. This can be done by writing, story telling, or by making small talk at mealtime.

Strategy #8 – Let the Clouds of Emotion Roll By:

Point out to children that feelings are brief, like clouds in the sky. They can discover it is possible to move from a difficult state of chaos or confusion to a feeling that brings about more contentment, satisfaction and security. This strategy teaches your child about fleeting emotions.

Strategy #9 – SIFT:

SIFT is an acronym for S = Sensations, I = Images, F = Feelings, T = Thoughts. Helping your child concentrate on SIFT can demonstrate to them how they can be more mindful. They can change from a position of distress to become self-unified and experiencing present moment awareness versus experiencing past negativities or future worries.

Strategy #10 – Exercise Mindsight:

Mindsight is being mindful of your own perceptions as well as the perceptions of others. Mindsight involves becoming aware of what enters your thought stream and uses your focus energy. This characteristic prepares children to concentrate on themselves and the people near them.

Strategy #11 – Increase the Family Fun Factor ~ Value each other:

Simple, the human brain is structured for social interaction. Promote fun with family and friends so your children like spending time with others and will form social remembrances. Enjoying alone is fine, but we all need to learn how to get along and enjoy the company of others, it is a populated and social World.

Strategy #12 – Connect through Conflict:

View conflict as an opportunity to teach your child a meaningful experience. They may discover how to understand their feelings better while using a mild manner when seeing another person’s ideas, reading non-verbal messages, and/or using problem solving.

The Goal of the 12 Strategies…

Hopefully, the 12 strategies further “integrate” a child’s brain, correlate the separate regions of the brain, and enhance the achievement of psychological well-being.

As a parent, the goal is to get the child to exercise their brain in a constructive manner. The “upstairs brain”, which makes judgments and stabilizes feelings, is developing until the mid-twenties. In young children the right-brain and its feelings have a tendency to regulate the reasoning of the left-brain.

The books presents information for helping the child join the left-brain and the right-brain, their “upstairs” and “downstairs” brains, and implicit and explicit memories. This ability gives them “a better chance of finding harmonious flow between the two extremes, which in turn will minimize tantrums and other results of dis-integration”. The book shows that by integrating all the individual parts of the brain it is easier to live happy, accomplished lives.

In addition, the book includes cartoons that show different parenting skills and examples to teach neurological ideas. It offers compelling material to help a child establish the emotional intelligence they will use to be prolific and productive in the world.

The Whole Brain Child encourages parents to teach kids ways their brain works, practice brain integration themselves, and use everyday experiences to learn and prosper.