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Parenting From the Inside Out

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  2,690 ratings  ·  218 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 January 1st 2003)
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4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,690 ratings  ·  218 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.
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.
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.
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
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.

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.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Every adult should read this book, no matter if he/she has children or not. This book explains how our childhood experiences shape our reactions, feelings, and the way we perceive the parenthood. It helps to understand how to create a strong relationship with children (and other people as well), how to communicate better (concerning receiving and sending communication messages), and how to train our brain to stay mindful and aware of our reactions. It bases on scientific research in neurobiology ...more
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
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
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was a great extension of the authors other book ‘the whole brain child’ in its explanation of how the brain works, makes connections and how parenting impacts your child’s development. Some of the main take aways for me were that while you have to set boundaries with your kids, it’s never good for them to feel like they are afraid of you. This makes it hard for them to ‘make sense’ (as the authors put it) of their home life. It’s also very helpful to understand when you or your child i ...more
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
"Contrary to what many people believe, your early experiences do not determine your fate."

This was probably one of the most caring and reassuring sentences I have heard since becoming a parent. The book is fulled with hope, that you don't have to repeat your childhood with your own children. It is a foundation for self-understanding (even if you are not a parent) on becoming a person you want to be.

This book isn't a run of the mill how to parent book; if you are looking for the manual this isn't
May 13, 2017 rated it liked it
I started reading this when my son was an infant for a play group book club that never took off. I finally had a chance to finish it recently, and am glad to have done so as it's not only personally relevant, but also applicable to my profession.

Personally, I wasn't a huge fan of the ends of the chapters where Siegel and Hartzell go into neuroscience as it became a bit dry. As a therapist, most of the clients struggling with parenting that I've seen aren't so much interested in the brain side of
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
The most important parenting / child development book I've read so far, and probably among the most important out there. The intersection of attachment theory and neuroscience is fascinating, essential, and (according to neuropsychologist hubby) under-studied.

In a nutshell, parents' childhoods, their grasp on their own life stories, and their adeptness at handling and understanding their own emotions has an indelible impression on their experiences with their children and their children's unders
Angelina Werner
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm a huge fan of Daniel J. Siegel's work. This was the third book by him I've read and I've also already listened to various of his presentations.
What I liked most about this book were the personal questions for the reader to assess their own situation at the end of each chapter. They helped me recall many situations from my childhood that keep influencing my behavior not only towards my children but also in the relationship with my partner.
It was an eye opener for me and a big help to recogniz
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is fantastic for understanding "the family of origin" and how we were parented in order to effectively relearn healthy patterns of engaging in relationships, including parenting. The hardest part for me to read through were the "Spotlight on Science" sections since a lot that was medical heavy and went over my head, BUT it was interesting since it discussed the intricacies and complexities of the brain. Overall, HIGHLY recommended especially when it comes to reworking your past and red ...more
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
One of my absolute favorites that every parent should read. It could benefit people who are not parents but seek to understand themselves as well. I'm starting to think that if you want a more effective self-education and self understanding, it's best to turn to parenting books because you get to reflect on the conditions and reality of your upbringing. Simple self help books can never really provide you with that.
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great, illuminating perspective on parenting well and how important it is for parents to shed our own emotional baggage from childhood.

At times, the scientific basis for the recommendations can be a little heavy, but I'm glad it's there. I recommend skipping the "Spotlight on Science" portions if they become too long or difficult to get through, because it's not necessary to read those portions to understand the most important lessons in this book.
Not my favorite parenting book, but it has a good set of anecdotes that really helped drive the ideas behind.
Every point is made five times before going on with the next, kind of like they expect the reader to skim through or read "diagonally".
In any case, the best any parenting book can expect to achieve is to add to the tools you have to make the most of your parenting experience. Without a doubt this book gets to that goal.
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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
“When parents don’t take responsibility for their own unfinished business, they miss an opportunity not only to become better parents but also to continue their own development. People who remain in the dark about the origins of their behaviors and intense emotional responses are unaware of their unresolved issues and the parental ambivalence they create.” 2 likes
“understand. Such an approach” 0 likes
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