On multiple parenting suggested reading lists I kept seeing The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind, Survive Everyday Parenting Struggles, and Help Your Family Thrive by Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson. I got a chance to read it and enjoyed it quite a bit. It was kind of a cross between How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Einstein Never Used Flashcards in terms of its focus on child brain development, psychology, and working through problems through conversation.
I liked the distinctions the book drew between upstairs and downstairs brains and left and right brains and how young children have a lot of trouble integrating these. I also liked the suggested activities/conversations to be had with kids along with specific scripts.
Moments of trying to just survive parenting are opportunities to teach and learn
1 parenting with brain in mind
Distracting from big scary emotions leaves in loss
Better to keep repeating discussion of impactful experience and let child process
Integration of all parts of brain
Speak to child about his feelings
River of well being between bank of chaos and bank of rigidity
2 two brains better than one: integrating left and right
1 Connect and redirect.
Don't defend yourself.
Pull close and rub back
Sometimes it's just really hard huh
1 use right brain to connect, touch, acknowledge feelings
2 redirect to left brain: explain and find solution. Better to discuss later when calm.
When child upset, logic won't work
Attunement: helping someone feel felt/heard
2 Name it to tame it. Tell stories to calm emotions.
Retell story of traumatic story
Talking through moment with child together
Name emotions. Ask questions to facilitate.
Draw picture of event or write down story
Ask child to tell story of experience to someone else: forces left brain to make order of experience and emotion in right brain. Same reason why journaling works.
Make homemade book of bad experience
Whole brain kids story to read for 5-9 year olds
3 building staircase of brain: connecting upstairs and downstairs brain
Previous chapter was left and right
This one is up and down
Downstairs is old reptilian instinctual
Upstairs is new and logical and reasoning
Upstairs not yet finished developing so need realistic expectations
Amygdala is baby gate that floods emotion and blocks connection to upstairs brain. Sometimes physically can't use upstairs brain.
Upstairs tantrum: firm boundaries. Don't negotiate with terrorist. I understand u want x but y and if u don't z then n. Explain consequences.
Downstairs tantrum: lower parts of brain hijack brain and body. More nurturing and comforting. Redirect. Loving touch. Hold close and talk down and remove from scene. Calm amygdala. Later talk about inappropriate behavior when calm.
Engage don't enrage: appeal to upstairs brain
You look like you're angry
Use it or lose it for upstairs brain
Practice making sound decisions themselves. Make own choice. Avoid solving or rescuing.
Controlling emotions and body.
Take deep breath
Stop and think before hurting others
Ask questions. Why do u think u made that choice? Why were you yelling?
Give journal and encourage daily writing or drawing
Ask questions about surroundings to discuss this. Why do you think that Baby is crying? That woman wasn't nice, what do you think must be going on for her to make her do that?
Practice thinking of others
Raise moral and ethical questions for discussion. Hypothetical situations.
Move it or lose it
Physical movement affects brain chemistry
First do jumping jack before unwanted activity
Jump up and down when discouraged
I know ur mad about x. It doesn't seem fair. Let's go ride our bikes and talk about it.
4 kill the butterflies: dealing with difficult memories
Memory is just association. Not filing cabinet.
Triggered memories create expectations for future
Memories retrieved are altered
Integrating implicit and explicit memories
Remote of the mind: internal DVD player to replay memories. Child can say pause and fast forward to skip painful scenes. Then come back to those and go through slowly and talk through each scary element. Repeat over following days.
Remember to remember
Ask kids to practice telling and retelling stories
Discuss memories of important family experiences they had
Ask questions to prompt recollection. Did u go to bobs house today? What happened when u got there?
Play guessing game. Ask child to tell you two things that happened and one that didn't and u guess which.
Daily recap at end of day of high low and act of kindness
Look at photo albums together and describe
Make memory book together after big experiences
Unexamined disintegrated memories cause trouble for adults too. Need to process and discuss implicit memories.
What's going on? Is this reminding me of something?
5 United States of me: integrating many parts of self
Mindsight and wheel of awareness
Understanding own mind and that of another
Mind as bicycle wheel with rim anything we can be aware of. Hub as executive focus that can choose what to pay attention to
Kids can get stuck focusing on certain rim points
Confuse How they feel in one moment vs how they are always
Choice of what you pay attention to
Let clouds of emotion roll by
Temporary states not traits
Game wher u Ask kids about each of these as they experience them
Exercise getting back to the hub
Practice moving attention to sounds and physical stuff and then extend to mental ones
Think of breath going in and out
6 me we connection: integrating self and others
Considering minds of others
Insight plus empathy equals mindsight
Reactivity vs receptivity
When in reactive state, physical stuff like hugs better
Increase family fun factor and remember to enjoy each other. Spontaneous games. Improv games. Sidewalk chalk drawing together. Project for grandparent.
Connection through conflict
Practice seeing from others eyes
Connect first then redirect
Why do u think he might have done x
Listen to what's not being said
Make observations verbally about others body language and feelings
Repair after conflict
Need to take steps to right what's wrong
Draw a picture or write a letter
If it were u what would u what in this case
Look at other to see their emotions and reaction
Integrate your life narrative. Reflect on your parents.
Use everyday moments to teach
Whole brain ages and stages chart
References/others from author
Parenting from inside out