Sacha's Reviews > Parenting From the Inside Out

Parenting From the Inside Out by Daniel J. Siegel
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's review
Jun 10, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: books-about-baby
Read in July, 2011

The main message of this book is the importance of listening to our children, reflecting their story back to them, and helping them to make sense of it. We can't do this when we are distracted by unresolved issues from our past. There's nothing like having a baby or child completely dependent on you 24/7 to unearth issues from one's own childhood.

Particularly poignant for me was the example of a shy girl who managed a brave feat on the playground. A new teacher saw her, was excited for her, and the new teacher expressed herself enthusiastically. The child's response was to withdraw. What the child needed to more fully experience the triumph and feel connected to her community was a reflection of her own feelings. Helping a child express themselves shows understanding, respect, and confirmation that their feelings are valuable.

The authors, while demanding an incredible level of inner peace, are also quite gentle with their readers. Emphasizing that what is important is having woven a coherent narrative about one's own childhood, not having had a 'good' one. Pointing out that this can be done/ begun at any time and whatever healing we are able to achieve will benefit our relationships. "The challenge we all share is to embrace our humanity with humor and patience so that we can in turn relate to our children with openness and kindness." (p 186)

The book includes an interesting discussion of shame. Ruptures with parents often cause a child to feel shame. Repeated, unresolved ruptures may result in automatic responses, defense mechanisms, that stay with us indefinitely. These may be dormant for years, then triggered by our own children. (p 195)

Finally, there are sections in each chapter about the science of the brain. I read the first few and found a lot of talk about right-brain left-brain. It is my understanding that that distinction has been debunked. I skipped the rest of the science sections.

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