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Parenting From the Inside Out

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  3,528 ratings  ·  301 reviews
How many parents have found themselves thinking: I can't believe I just said to my child the very thing my parents used to say to me! Am I just destined to repeat the mistakes of my parents? In Parenting from the Inside Out, child psychiatrist Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., and early childhood expert Mary Hartzell, M.Ed., explore the extent to which our childhood experiences actu ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 26th 2004 by TarcherPerigee (first published March 31st 2003)
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  3,528 ratings  ·  301 reviews

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Jun 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Parents who have difficulty applying parenting tips; therapists working with parents
Shelves: professionallit
I didn't enjoy this book the entire time I was reading it, but when I found myself summarizing the parts I found relevant and photocopying the exercises, I knew I needed to give it at least four stars.

Many of my clients come in with difficulties around childraising, and it's always a struggle for me between giving them childraising "tips" versus helping them uncover the deeper issues that are making it difficult for them to parent effectively. Parents who come in often request these tips and fee
Mar 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Another excellent book. Read it starting with chapter 7, then going to the beginning. Read it when you find yourself dealing with your child in a very unideal way, knowing it at the time, and still not being able to do otherwise. This book will explain to you why. And explain what is going on in your brain (fight or flight) that makes you unable to be the warm creative loving or patient at that moment...and what to do about it.
Wisdom: when your brain gets stressed in certain ways it gets "vaporl
Marcia Call
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
My friend, Wendi, recommended this book and I'm glad that I read it. I had thought that parenting was all about unrecoverable mistakes that would be permanent dings against you and your child, however, Siegel talks a lot about recovery - immediate actions that can be taken to mitigate words said in anger, etc. as well as strategies for recovering years later. This is a very encouraging read for parents like me who don't have it always together in the moment. ...more
Erin Henry
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great book for learning how to connect with your child. Scientifically rigorous with great descriptions of the brain and its functions. At times a little dense but well worth it. Great for anyone who was left wanting by Shepherding a Child's Heart. ...more
Sep 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting
I consider myself very lucky to have been raised in a way that made me feel heard, supported, and valued -- an upbringing that I believe led me to be conscious and conscientious of other people's desires and emotions as an adult. I'm about to become a parent myself, and as a former psych major, I was interested to learn more about the practical side of attachment theory, and how parents who had more difficult childhoods could develop the skills to have secure relationships with their own kids.

Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing book. All about how experiences and loss in our earlier lives affect our parenting, and what we can do about it. I highly recommend! Daniel J. Siegel's other parenting books are amazing also. ...more
Feb 13, 2013 rated it liked it
How your parents treated you, and how you internalized that, affects how you treat your kids. Hmm, not really a surprising statement there, is it? A lot of psychological mumbo-jumbo thrown about, complete with cross-sections of the brain. At one point in my life (fresh out of college) I would probably have found it fascinating and read each word, but now I just felt thickheaded so I skimmed and tried to pick out the key concepts. I feel like I didn't really need all that theory, I just needed to ...more
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenthood
A lovely book. As I began reading I felt like there wasn't going to be anything new for me in this book after already reading so many attachment oriented books. However, I learned a lot and uncovered a lot of forgotten childhood history that was playing a role in my frustration and difficult motherhood moments. I feel inspired to keep improving myself and my relationships and growing from the reflections I made because of this book. ...more
Stefanie Unertl
Jun 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was incredibly helpful for me to identify some "learned" parenting strategies that I had picked up from my own upbringing... some which were simply a norm for that generation, but that we now know how to do better from the science behind what children really need. An invaluable resource to grow as a parent and as a person, as well as to learn how to forgive the mistakes of our own parents that probably learned them from their own parents... and so on.

A positive way to break unhealthy
Sonal Apte
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you're looking for solid examples of how your parenting is affected by how you were parented, this is a solid place to start. There's detailed scientific explanations of why we do what we do as parents. And while some of it is very dense to read through, overall I thought it was helpful.

Chapter 5 on attachment, chapter 6 on adult attachment, and chapter 7 on keeping to together/falling apart were the most useful for me.
Brett Barnes
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The best book on parenting I’ve ever read. The title may deceive. The “inside” is not the child’s heart but rather the the parents self-awareness. Great book for any parent or soon to be parent.
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I wish I read this before my kids were 11 and 13! So much valuable, USABLE information.
Lauren Clauson
Recommended reading from my therapist to spark conversations about starting a family with my husband.
Laurie Summer
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book to increase parents’ awareness as to how our own childhood issues require conscious attention and reflection, so that we can parent from a more emotionally nurturing place.
Sep 13, 2019 added it
This book came highly recommended to me, and I tried my best, but I found it too dense to get into. I wound up getting through chapter two, and have to put this down. The examples, the style it is written in, the length of the chapters- it is more of a clinical style of narration/for professionals than actually for parents. I did make copies of the exercises at the end of each chapter to save for later.
Drake Hyman
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
At the outset, Parenting from the Inside Out feels like one of those books that’s going to be a cold scientific approach to a universal human endeavor. The authors clearly have an understanding of the human anatomy, developmental psychology and neurology that far exceeds that of their target audience. Yet, in the way they bring the information to the table, the authors succeed in effectively communicating the findings of their research in a way that educates as much as it does encourage the read ...more
Susan Young
Apr 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I would alternately title this book "How not to pass your own crap on to your kids". We all have issues that can become toxic generational cycles and this book helps prepare parents for the inevitable time when a situation with their child causes an unpleasant memory to come up or causes an emotional reaction we may or may not understand in the moment. This book addresses the need to stay in the moment with your child and how to repair the damage if, or rather when, mistakes are made.

What I app
Zac Stojcevski
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Gwenyth Paltrow is quoted on the cover, "Parenting from the Inside Out is a must have for any parent". I don't disagree with her at all. I go further. This is a book to read for anyone- parent or not - who's ever had a bad run, a meltdown or a crisis and got blindsided by the experience. The book will prompt some insight into the origins and etiology of the event. It's a book we suggest to be read by clients/ patients early in their therapy particularly if someone wants to do some homework or pr ...more
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
The examples/anecdotes felt a bit simplistic, but this is not a scientific journal - and I assume parables are a long established way of communicating complex ideas.

The thought that parenting requires more work on ourselves than on our kids is a really profound one. I really liked the framework of the 4 patterns of attachment - and what parental habits leads to that.

I would highly recommend this book to all current and future parents.
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book! So many aha moments while reading it. Honestly, it is more a self development book than a parenting book, because first of all we need to make peace with our own childhood. Emotional coherence is the concept that has completely changed my perspective. It is true that we can not change the facts from our own past, but we can always change our mindset about them. I will definetely read other books written by D. Siegel.
Sophia Dunn
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: neurobiology
A wonderful neurobiologically-based parenting book, which offers us a humane reason and modus to sort ourselves out in order to parent our kids. 'Physician, Heal thyself' is eloquently and engagingly re-stated, 'Parent, Parent Thyself'. For everyone who is afraid they will make their own parents' mistakes. Daniel Siegel knows his onions. ...more
Lara Semaan
Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a very good book that really helped me reflect on how I sometimes feel or behave with my son. I think it is a must read for people who plan to become parents and think they might need some help figuring out some of their unresolved issues.
Harriet Showman
Nov 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow. A fresh look at how children's brains develop and what adults can do to help them be fully present. For more information: ...more
Jul 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Great first two chapters. Skim the rest.
Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
attachment focused parenting and the impact on the child's brain ...more
Raymond Crane
Jan 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Fiction Writing and Parenting
The writer or reader of fictions may not at first glance see any correlation between the two ideas. An inkling that there is value in comparing them persuades me to pursue in an investigative manner the similarities and differences, and to see if defining these two apparently unrelated conceptual indicators can provide a new idea of both in relation to each other, and the bigger picture.
Let’s start from a truth. I very rarely have written about parenting in my novel
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
My Goodreads shelf tells me this is the 35th book on parenting I've read. 35 books on a single topic. I would be an expert by now on any other topic, but still a novice on this one. This one had helpful information. One thing that really blew my mind was that a lack of a connection to a primary care giver is a cause of having few childhood memories. Absolutely fascinating. I never understood why certain people I've known had so few childhood memories. They all had distant or distracted mothers, ...more
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: parenting
I really enjoyed Siegel's The Whole Brain Child, which he had co-written with Tina Payne Bryson. It was short, pithy and accessibly written and I was looking forward to Parenting from the Inside Out.

The premise of Parenting from the Inside Out is that if you want to be an effective parent, you've got to do the self-work and develop self-awareness of who you are, and how your experiences have shaped you and your responses to situations. If you're not aware of your emotional baggage, your child c
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As a mental health professional, and parent, this book was helpful in understanding how we experience disconnection with our children, why it may happen, and how to reconnect. The book is divided into the explanation of topics (i.e. how we perceive reality) and a section on the science behind it. While it took me a while to finish the book, partly due to its density, it has become an important informant to my work with families.

Of particular help is the High Road/Low Road discussion. As a paren
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Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., is an internationally acclaimed author, award-winning educator, and child psychiatrist. Dr. Siegel received his medical degree from Harvard University and completed his postgraduate medical education at UCLA with training in pediatrics and child, adolescent and adult psychiatry. He is currently a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, where he also ...more

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