By Leslie Lindsay
The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson (image retrieved from Amazon.com on 8.7.12)
I don’t know about you but I have about had it with summer vacation. It’s not the heat or the long days that is driving me wild, it’s the constant fussing and bickering that comes from the tiny redheaded girls who call me mom. So when I learned about this new parenting book, THE WHOLE BRAIN CHILD by Daniel J. Siegel, MD and Tina Payne Bryson, PhD I figured it couldn’t hurt.
The book promises you will be able “survive everyday parenting struggles and help your family thrive.” I nodded in appreciation and flipped open the binding, inhaling that new-book smell I adore. The audience: parents of children birth to 12 years. It covers 12 basic principles a parent or devoted caregiver can give a child to help them become better at managing their own emotions, thus beoming a more well-balanced child. Again, I nod in appreciation.
The first section of the book is really focused on brain science. Don’t get me wrong: it’s not boring or hard to follow. In fact, I really like the whimsical illustrations the artist uses to depict the brain:
The LEFT side (hemisphere) is loaded with graphics like crossword puzzles, math facts, and pondering children (“hummm…wonder if they can prove that?”). More on the left side: loves order and lists, it is logical, literal, linguistic, and linear (puts things in order or sequence).
While the RIGHT side is a little more “floaty” with dancers, artists, and thinkers (holistic and nonverbal, facial expressions, eye contact, tone of voice, posture, and gestures, big picture specialists, emotions, memories, and the feeling of an experience) Sure, it’s a bit of a stereotype, but hey–that’s what it’s really all about.
So, here’s the idea: toddlers often use their right brain most (reacting to emotions–meltdown, anyone?) and later the left brain kicks in (no, I won’t share this with you. It’s mine! Or, the endless questioning of “Why?”). By the time your kiddo is successfully doing both, you can be rest-assured that he does indeed have two hemispheres. The problem is, they aren’t always working in tandem. That’s where you, dependable caregiver comes in.
Here’s what I am thinking: I will highlight the 12 strategives in this book over the next two Tuesdays. Next week, we’ll cover 1-6 and the following week, 6-12. There will be a lot I won’t be able to share with you because this book is chock-full of great graphics, charts, etc. So, if you think you’re going to like this book–and really, what’s not to like–I suggest you get your own copy at your local library or bookstore. I got mine at Amazon.
And in the meantime, I will see if it works at decreasing the summer bickerfest at my house…
For now, class dismissed!
For more information on the Whole Brain Child, see their website at: http://www.wholebrainchild.com/