100 Book Challenge, Non-fiction

Book #11: Parenting from the Inside Out

I’ve got baggage.  We all do, really, and some of it can be attributed to the way we were parented.  Since I have kids in therapy for anxiety and depression, I took our counselor’s recommendation to read Parenting from the Inside Out by Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell, hoping it would help me find more tools to help my kids.

The authors drew on their experiences as a child psychiatrist and child-development specialist and parent educator respectively to hold a series of parent education workshops.  What they taught is contained in this book.  It is filled with neuroscience and attachment theory, but I didn’t feel like it was over my head.  It slowed me down because I was determined to understand the science behind it, but I finished the book feeling like I had a much firmer grasp on the concepts than I certainly had ever understood before.  In fact, if you had asked me what attachment theory was, I would have assumed you meant how babies felt about their mothers.  It’s much more than that and incredibly fascinating.

The first half of the book is for the reader, presumably a parent, to make sense of how they were raised.  It took me 30 pages of writing in my journal to sort that out, but completely worth it.  The second half is to teach you how to parent better or differently accordingly.  The concept of high road and low road parenting, based on your higher or lower level processing in the your brain, was a paradigm shift for me.  It’s something I’ve worked to implement in my family ever since.  I’m not great at it yet, but it’s a worthy thing to fail at.

I love that the tools they recommend are all based on neuroscience.  It’s not just some guy who’s telling me what he’s seen work in his practice, but how your mirror neurons function, just as one example.  Super cool and a book I’ve recommended to many people since.  Even if you’re not a parent, or now a grandparent, the first half of the book would make all the difference in the world for anyone who makes the effort to read and process.

Goodreads rating: 5 stars


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has written 287 articles on Red Hot Eyebrows.

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