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The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind [Format Kindle]

Daniel J. Siegel , Tina Payne Bryson
2.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Chapter 1

Parenting with the Brain in Mind

Parents are often experts about their children's bodies. They know that a temperature above 98.6 degrees is a fever. They know to clean out a cut so it doesn't get infected. They know which foods are most likely to leave their child wired before bedtime.

But even the most caring, best-educated parents often lack basic information about their child's brain. Isn't this surprising? Especially when you consider the central role the brain plays in virtually every aspect of a child's life that parents care about: discipline, decision making, self-awareness, school, relationships, and so on. In fact, the brain pretty much determines who we are and what we do. And since the brain itself is significantly shaped by the experiences we offer as parents, knowing about the way the brain changes in response to our parenting can help us to nurture a stronger, more resilient child.

So we want to introduce you to the whole-brain perspective. We'd like to explain some fundamental concepts about the brain and help you apply your new knowledge in ways that will make parenting easier and more meaningful. We're not saying that raising a whole-brain child will get rid of all the frustrations that come with parenting. But by understanding a few simple and easy-to-master basics about how the brain works, you'll be able to better understand your child, respond more effectively to difficult situations, and build a foundation for social, emotional, and mental health. What you do as a parent matters, and we'll provide you with straightforward, scientifically based ideas that will help you build a strong relationship with your child that can help shape his brain well and give him the best foundation for a healthy and happy life.

Let us tell you a story that illustrates how useful this information can be for parents.

Eea Woo Woo

One day Marianna received a call at work telling her that her two- year-old son, Marco, had been in a car accident with his babysitter. Marco was fine, but the babysitter, who was driving, had been taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

Marianna, a principal at an elementary school, frantically rushed to the scene of the accident, where she was told that the babysitter had experienced an epileptic seizure while driving. Marianna found a firefighter unsuccessfully attempting to console her toddler. She took Marco in her arms, and he immediately began to calm down as she comforted him.

As soon as he stopped crying, Marco began telling Marianna what had happened. Using his two-year-old language, which only his parents and babysitter would be able to understand, Marco continually repeated the phrase "Eea woo woo." "Eea" is his word for "Sophia," the name of his beloved babysitter, and "woo woo" refers to his version of the siren on a fire truck (or in this case, an ambulance). By repeatedly telling his mother "Eea woo woo," Marco was focusing on the detail of the story that mattered most to him: Sophia had been taken away from him.

In a situation like this, many of us would be tempted to assure Marco that Sophia would be fine, then immediately focus on something else to get the child's mind off the situation: "Let's go get some ice cream!" In the days that followed, many parents would try to avoid upsetting their child by not discussing the accident. The problem with the "let's go get some ice cream" approach is that it leaves the child confused about what happened and why. He is still full of big and scary emotions, but he isn't allowed (or helped) to deal with them in an effective way.

Marianna didn't make that mistake. She had taken Tina's classes on parenting and the brain, and she immediately put what she knew to good use. That night and over the next week, when Marco's mind continually brought him back to the car crash, Marianna helped him retell the story over and over again. She'd say, "Yes, you and Sophia were in an accident, weren't you?" At this point, Marco would stretch out his arms and shake them, imitating Sophia's seizure. Marianna would continue, "Yes, Sophia had a seizure and started shaking, and the car crashed, didn't it?" Marco's next statement was, of course, the familiar "Eea woo woo," to which Marianna would respond, "That's right. The woo woo came and took Sophia to the doctor. And now she's all better. Remember when we went to see her yesterday? She's doing just fine, isn't she?"

In allowing Marco to repeatedly retell the story, Marianna was helping him understand what had happened so he could begin to deal with it emotionally. Since she knew the importance of helping her son's brain process the frightening experience, she helped him tell and retell the events so that he could process his fear and go on with his daily routines in a healthy and balanced way. Over the next few days, Marco brought up the accident less and less, until it became just another of his life experiences-albeit an important one.

As you read the following pages, you'll learn specifics about why Marianna responded as she did, and why, both practically and neurologically, it was so helpful to her son. You'll be able to apply your new knowledge about the brain in numerous ways that make parenting your own child more manageable and meaningful.

The concept at the heart of Marianna's response, and of this book, is integration. A clear understanding of integration will give you the power to completely transform the way you think about parenting your kids. It can help you enjoy them more and better prepare them to live emotionally rich and rewarding lives.

What Is Integration and Why Does It Matter?

Most of us don't think about the fact that our brain has many different parts with different jobs. For example, you have a left side of the brain that helps you think logically and organize thoughts into sentences, and a right side that helps you experience emotions and read nonverbal cues. You also have a "reptile brain" that allows you to act instinctually and make split-second survival decisions, and a "mammal brain" that leads you toward connection and relationships. One part of your brain is devoted to dealing with memory; another to making moral and ethical decisions. It's almost as if your brain has multiple personalities-some rational, some irrational; some reflective, some reactive. No wonder we can seem like different people at different times!

The key to thriving is to help these parts work well together-to integrate them. Integration takes the distinct parts of your brain and helps them work together as a whole. It's similar to what happens in the body, which has different organs to perform different jobs: the lungs breathe air, the heart pumps blood, the stomach digests food. For the body to be healthy, these organs all need to be integrated. In other words, they each need to do their individual job while also working together as a whole. Integration is simply that: linking different elements together to make a well-functioning whole. Just as with the healthy functioning of the body, your brain can't perform at its best unless its different parts work together in a coordinated and balanced way. That's what integration does: it coordinates and balances the separate regions of the brain that it links together. It's easy to see when our kids aren't integrated-they become overwhelmed by their emotions, confused and chaotic. They can't respond calmly and capably to the situation at hand. Tantrums, meltdowns, aggression, and most of the other challenging experiences of parenting-and life-are a result of a loss of integration, also known as dis-integration.

We want to help our children become better integrated so they can use their whole brain in a coordinated way. For example, we want them to be horizontally integrated, so that their left-brain logic can work well with their right-brain emotion. We also want them to be vertically integrated, so that the physically higher parts of their brain, which let them thoughtfully consider their actions, work well with the lower parts, which are more concerned with instinct, gut reactions, and survival.

The way integration actually takes place is fascinating, and it's something that most people aren't aware of. In recent years, scientists have developed brain-scanning technology that allows researchers to study the brain in ways that were never before possible. This new technology has confirmed much of what we previously believed about the brain. However, one of the surprises that has shaken the very foundations of neuroscience is the discovery that the brain is actually "plastic," or moldable. This means that the brain physically changes throughout the course of our lives, not just in childhood, as we had previously assumed.

What molds our brain? Experience. Even into old age, our experiences actually change the physical structure of the brain. When we undergo an experience, our brain cells-called neurons-become active, or "fire." The brain has one hundred billion neurons, each with an average of ten thousand connections to other neurons. The ways in which particular circuits in the brain are activated determines the nature of our mental activity, ranging from perceiving sights or sounds to more abstract thought and reasoning. When neurons fire together, they grow new connections between them. Over time, the connections that result from firing lead to "rewiring" in the brain. This is incredibly exciting news. It means that we aren't held captive for the rest of our lives by the way our brain works at this moment-we can actually rewire it so that we can be healthier and happier. This is true not only for children and adolescents, but also for each of us across the life span.

Right now, your child's brain is constantly being wired and rewired, and the experiences you provide will go a long way toward determining the structure of her brain. No pressure, right? Don't worry, though. Nature has provided that the basic architecture of the brain will develop well given proper food, sleep, and stimulation. Genes, of course, play a large role in how people turn out, especially in terms of temperament. But findings from various areas in developmental psychology suggest that everything that happens to us-the music we hear, the people we love, the books we read, the kind of discipline we receive, the emotions we feel-profoundly affects the way our brain develops. In other words, on top of our basic brain architecture and our inborn temperament, parents have much they can do to provide the kinds of experiences that will help develop a resilient, well- integrated brain. This book will show you how to use everyday experiences to help your child's brain become more and more integrated.

For example, children whose parents talk with them about their experiences tend to have better access to the memories of those experiences. Parents who speak with their children about their feelings have children who develop emotional intelligence and can understand their own and other people's feelings more fully. Shy children whose parents nurture a sense of courage by offering supportive explorations of the world tend to lose their behavioral inhibition, while those who are excessively protected or insensitively thrust into anxiety-provoking experiences without support tend to maintain their shyness.

There is a whole field of the science of child development and attachment backing up this view-and the new findings in the field of neuroplasticity support the perspective that parents can directly shape the unfolding growth of their child's brain according to what experiences they offer. For example, hours of screen time-playing video games, watching television, texting-will wire the brain in certain ways. Educational activities, sports, and music will wire it in other ways. Spending time with family and friends and learning about relationships, especially with face-to-face interactions, will wire it in yet other ways. Everything that happens to us affects the way the brain develops.

This wire-and-rewire process is what integration is all about: giving our children experiences to create connections between different parts of the brain. When these parts collaborate, they create and reinforce the integrative fibers that link different parts of the brain. As a result, they are connected in more powerful ways and can work together even more harmoniously. Just as individual singers in a choir can weave their distinct voices into a harmony that would be impossible for any one person to create, an integrated brain is capable of doing much more than its individual parts could accomplish alone.

That's what we want to do for each of our kids: help their brain become more integrated so they can use their mental resources to full capacity. This is exactly what Marianna did for Marco. When she helped him retell the story over and over again ("Eea woo woo"), she defused the scary and traumatic emotions in his right brain so that they didn't rule him. She did so by bringing in factual details and logic from his left brain-which, at two years old, is just beginning to develop-so that he could deal with the accident in a way that made sense to him.

If his mother hadn't helped him tell and understand the story, Marco's fears would have been left unresolved and could have surfaced in other ways. He might have developed a phobia about riding in cars or being separated from his parents, or his right brain might have raged out of control in other ways, causing him to tantrum frequently. Instead, by telling the story with Marco, Marianna helped focus his attention both on the actual details of the accident and on his emotions, which allowed him to use both the left and right sides of his brain together, literally strengthening their connection. (We'll explain this particular concept much more fully in chapter 2.) By helping him become better integrated, he could return to being a normal, developing two-year-old rather than dwelling on the fear and distress he had experienced.

Let's look at another example. Now that you and your siblings are adults, do you still fight over who gets to push the button for the elevator? Of course not. (Well, we hope not.) But do your kids squabble and bicker over this kind of issue? If they're typical kids, they do.

The reason behind this difference brings us back to the brain and integration. Sibling rivalry is like so many other issues that make parenting difficult-tantrums, disobedience, homework battles, discipline matters, and so on. As we'll explain in the coming chapters, these everyday parenting challenges result from a lack of integration within your child's brain. The reason her brain isn't always capable of integration is simple: it hasn't had time to develop. In fact, it's got a long way to go, since a person's brain isn't considered fully developed until she reaches her mid-twenties.

So that's the bad news: you have to wait for your child's brain to develop. That's right. No matter how brilliant you think your preschooler is, she does not have the brain of a ten-year-old, and won't for several years. The rate of brain maturation is largely influenced by the genes we inherit. But the degree of integration may be exactly what we can influence in our day-to-day parenting.

From the Hardcover edition.

Revue de presse

Engaging read with fun illustrations. --Practical Parenting & Pregnacy s Book of the Month

One of the best books I have read on how to parent - it goes to the top of my list! --Sue Gerhardt, author of Why Love Matters

Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson have created a masterful, reader-friendly guide to helping children grow their emotional intelligence. This brilliant method transforms everyday interactions into valuable brain-shaping moments. Anyone who cares for children-or who loves a child-should read. --Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 7242 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 192 pages
  • Editeur : Delacorte Press; Édition : 1 (4 octobre 2011)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B004J4X32U
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 2.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°44.004 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

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0 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 pas convaincue 27 août 2015
Par Louana
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Voilà encore un livre écrit par des spécialistes du fonctionnement du cerveau qui ont trouvé un moyen de faire en sorte que l’enfant réagisse mieux aux limites imposé, aux non, aux contraintes... Il faut avoir un certain ton de voix, utiliser certains mots, tout un scénario qui ne marche pas pour les tout petits (10 mois par exemple) qui n’ont pas le langage. Alors que les problèmes commencent déjà autour de cet âge. Et à ce que je vois (car j’ai essayé sur mon fils de 20 mois) avec les plus grands non plus. Et c’est très épuisant pour l’adulte et humainement pas possible d’être aussi patient en toute circonstance dans l’espoir qu’un jour…
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Amazon.com: 4.6 étoiles sur 5  498 commentaires
352 internautes sur 369 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Very Helpful, Easy to Implement Nurturing Strategies 1 septembre 2011
Par Bradley Bevers - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
As a new parent, I am just beginning to read up child development, discipline, and parenting. This short book gets right to the point and gives parents twelve key strategies that will help them parent their kids without losing it. The twelve strategies are:

1: Connect and Redirect: Connect emotionally, redirect logically

2: Name It To Tame It: Taming emotions through storytelling

3: Engage, Don't Enrage: Appeal to logic and planning, not to emotion

4: Use It Or Lose It: Encourage planning, thinking, and other left-brain activities

5: Move It Or Lose It: Body over mind method to restore balance

6: Use The Remote Of The Mind: Teaching your child to view his/her memories while maintaining control

7: Remember To Remember: Exercise memory often

8: Let The Clouds of Emotion Roll By: Teaching your kids about temporary feelings

9: SIFT: Using sensation, image, feeling, and thought to help your child understand

10: Exercise Mindsight: Focusing with your mind (For more on this, see one of the author's other books, Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation

11: Increase The Family Fun Factor: The science behind building in fun family times

12: Connect Through Conflict: Turning conflict into opportunity

Some of the things I really liked about this book include:

* Cartoon explanations and demonstrations of each point. Very helpful.

* Break down at the end of each chapter for kids.

* Chart at the end of the book on how to integrate each strategy for different ages - very valuable, and a great addition to the book.

The only negative thing I can say is that some of the strategies seemed too much alike to warrant another strategy (ex. Remote of Mind and Name It to Tame It). Use the chart at the back, and this little book will help you survive everyday parenting struggles. Highly Recommended.

Another book on redirected parenting, this one with a Christian focus instead of neuroscience: Gospel-Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting

Book that really got me interested on the power of the mind and memory: Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything
221 internautes sur 233 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Pretty darn good - though not "revolutionary" - parenting advice 27 avril 2013
Par Ready Mommy - Publié sur Amazon.com
Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson's "The Whole Brain Child" fails to deliver on the titular promise of "revolutionary" parenting strategies to "truly help your kids be happier, healthier, and more fully themselves"; it does, however, provide innovative and effective explanations, packaging, and delivery of many tried-and-true parenting techniques that turn out to be neuroscientifically based.

The first four chapters are the love child of the Johns - Medina's "Brain Rules for Baby" and Gottman's "Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child." Like Medina, Siegel and Bryson show great talent for breaking down complex science into readily understandable terms (they even surpass him when explaining implicit memory). Yet whereas Medina carefully limits himself to truly definitive (i.e., research-backed) conclusions, Siegel and Bryson - like Gottman - go further, using available data as a theoretical springboard for vaunting specific, mostly emotion-related practices. The following seven strategies result: (1) "Connect and Redirect: [Helping Kids Learn to Surf] Emotional Waves"; (2) "Name It to Tame It: Telling Stories to Calm Big Emotions"; (3) "Engage, Don't Enrage: Appealing to the Upstairs Brain"; (4) "Use It or Lose It: Exercising the Upstairs Brain"; (5) "Move It or Lose It: Moving the Body to Avoid Losing the Mind"; (6) "Use the Remote of the Mind: Replaying Memories"; and (7) "Remember to Remember: Making Recollection a Part of Your Family's Daily Life."

The fifth and sixth chapters, however, throw a little of Susan Stiffelman's "Parenting Without Power Struggles" into the mix, offering child therapy techniques and explaining why they work through the prism of brain science. Strategies eight through twelve are: (8) "Let the Clouds of Emotion Roll By: Teaching That Feelings Come and Go"; (9) "SIFT[, or Sensations, Images, Feelings, and Thoughts]: Paying Attention to What's Going On Inside"; (10) "Exercise Mindsight: Getting Back to the Hub[, or, Learning to See Your Internal Forest for the Trees]"; (11) "Increase the Family Fun Factor: Making a Point to Enjoy Each Other"; and (12) "Connect Through Conflict: Teach Kids to Argue with a `We' in Mind."

Their premise is that these twelve strategies help "integrate" children's brains, that is, "coordinate[] and balance[] the separate regions of the brain" so as to optimize mental health. Using the image of a child inside a canoe floating down a river, they explain that veering close to the bank of chaos leaves the kid feeling too out of control to relax whereas drifting close to the bank of rigidity makes the kid too rigid to function ideally (instead "imposing control on everything and everyone"). "By helping our kids connect left [brain] and right [brain]" - as well as their "upstairs" and "downstairs" brains and implicit and explicit memories - "we give them a better chance of [finding] . . . harmonious flow between the[] two extremes," which in turn will minimize tantrums and other results of "dis-integration." Of course, they warn, the results won't be perfect both because we should expect imperfection in ourselves as parents and because kids are biologically unable to always "be rational, regulate their emotions, make good decisions, think before acting, and be empathetic."

So far all we've got is clever packaging and some fun analogies for pretty standard knowledge regarding keeping kids calm. The true deliciousness of what Siegel and Bryson bring to the table is a self-awareness that is two-fold, one not unique and the other truly so. First, like Medina, the authors apply their knowledge of the brain to their own project, creating a structure that maximizes retention and usefulness, including the descriptive "strategies" as chapter sub-headings, a "refrigerator sheet" that summarizes a few details under each strategy, an "ages and stages" chart that emphasizes different applications for children of different ages, and acronyms (e.g., "before you over-analyze the situation, HALT and check the basics: is your little [one] simply hungry, angry, lonely, or tired?").

Second, and most thrilling, the authors provide graphics and suggestions for talking to kids about the way their brains and bodies work, giving children an opportunity to consciously take part in regulation of their own emotions and behavior. For the past few years, I've tried to provide my toddler with ownership over her well-being, telling her about some of the parenting techniques I read about, giving her a head's up that I intend to use them, and then chatting about their effectiveness. But I've never read about doing this in a parenting book, and certainly haven't heard anyone suggest starting with brain science. At their suggestion I said to my toddler, "You know how when you're happy, your brain puts a smile on your face? Well, the same thing works backwards a little. If you smile for a while, even if you're sad, you'll start to feel a bit better." And that's just the beginning. Pretty freaking cool, guys.

Finally, I want to share two interesting tidbits from "The Whole Brain Child" approach that contradict standard parenting advice but perfectly align with my parenting instincts:

"An upstairs tantrum occurs when a child essentially decides to throw a fit. . . . A downstairs tantrum is completely different. Here, a child becomes so upset that he's no longer able to use his upstairs brain." With respect to the former, parents ought to follow standard advice, ignoring the antics and enforcing pre-established boundaries; when the latter type of fit is in play, however, "a completely different parental response is called for . . . much more nurturing and comforting."

"In high-stress situations, engage your child's upstairs brain, which is where his higher-order thinking takes place. Rather than triggering the more primitive and reactive downstairs brain with the `Because I said so!' card, ask questions, collaborate, and even negotiate. The more you can appeal to the upstairs brain and engage him in critical thinking and processing, the more your child will think and act and decide, rather than simply reacting to what he's feeling."

On the "eh" side of the scale, "The Whole Brain Child" is more useful for older children than younger ones, is often redundant and long-winded (darned brain scientists trying to make information stick), and isn't as comprehensive as "Parenting with Love & Logic." But there's quite a bit to celebrate here. Though Spiegel and Bryson don't offer much that's new in the realm of what parents ought to do, "The Whole Brain Child" adds value to the genre in providing the why and organizing the what into an easily understood, memorable, and, yes, at one point even "revolutionary," how.
198 internautes sur 209 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 So much more than I expected. 3 septembre 2011
Par reg - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
The Whole-Brain Child was so much more than I was expecting. I selected it because my daughter was going through some struggles with her 2 year old twins and my other daughter's 4 year old went through several weeks of separation from his mom and dad and now has to adjust to life with twin brothers. I was looking for things I might be able to do or to pass on to them that might help. What I wasn't expecting was getting some insight into why I feel it necessary to have dessert after a meal or why I have some of the anxieties I have.

I found the book easy to read and understand. There are many specific examples of how each technique can be used. I found these examples to be very useful. Most seems to be directed toward school-age children, but the back of the book has a chart that breaks down how to use each strategy with different age groups. There is 0 - 3, 3 - 6, 6 - 9, and 9 - 12. This makes it easier to see how each technique can be used with the children in your life.

Integrating the brain makes sense, especially the way it is explained here. We have a right brain (emotional) and a left brain (logical) and when we use both our lives are more balanced, meaningful, and creative. We also have an upstairs and a downstairs brain. Downstairs is the more primitive brain, which is intact at birth. The upstairs brain is under construction during childhood and gets remodeled during adolescence. Upstairs can be overtaken by the downstairs especially during high-emotion situations. When we "lose it", our downstairs has taken over. There are also different kinds of memories that need to be integrated as well as self and others. In general, this book is about integrating all the different parts of our brain. Doing so makes it so much easier for us to live happy, productive lives. I am ready to use some of the strategies explained in this book.

ETA: This book must have made a big impression on me. It hasn't been that long since I finished reading it, but I find myself quoting from it frequently. Sometimes it's when I am talking to my children about their children, but I have also had conversations with teachers I used to work with where information I learned in this books added to the discussion.
83 internautes sur 90 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Good underlying ideas, but a so-so presentation 1 octobre 2012
Par M. Garrison - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
As someone who works in child development, I think the underlying ideas of teaching children mindfulness skills and helping them learn about how their brain works are both incredibly important. Research has shown us again and again that this can help children improve how they handle their emotions, control impulses, understand consequences, and get along with others -- and in turn, these skills have a much bigger impact on school and life success than how early a child learns their ABCs.

That said, I'm really not confident that this book will help most families get there, for the following reasons:

1) Because of the organization of the book, parents need to wade through a lot of content that just isn't relevant to their lives to get to the scattered bits that will be useful right now.

2) The authors have a metaphor that they use for each key point, and often seem to overemphasize the metaphor to the point where it overshadows the actual skill. If the metaphor happens to "click" for you and your family, that probably won't be a problem -- but the thing with metaphors like these is that they are almost never one size fits all. Because more time is often spent on the metaphor than the meat, the book assumes that you will make connections that may or may not happen for you.

3) While the concepts of mindfulness as they relate to child cognitive and emotional development are definitely valid, the authors have not done a great job of explaining the science behind this. There is a lot of oversimplification and over-reliance on metaphors, no references cited, and illustrations that are unprofessional and sometimes just confusing. If you're just looking for the skills, that may not matter. But if you want to be convinced that this is the real deal -- or you have a partner that needs to be convinced -- I'm not confident that this book will do that for you.
61 internautes sur 71 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 I'm Just Not Sure 15 septembre 2011
Par E. Kennen - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
THE WHOLE BRAIN CHILD is three things in one:
-- For the most part, it is parenting book that helps explain children's behavior through what is going on in their brain: are they having a right brain (emotional) or left brain (logical) reaction; are they thinking with their upstairs brain (the prefrontal cortex, where higher-order processing happens) or their downstairs one (the "primitive" brain, incapable of rational thought)? Are they stuck on one detail, or do they have things in proper context? And, how do you, as a parent, get them to use their while brain in a healthy, productive way.
-- The book also includes illustrations and dialogues to share with your children.
-- Finally, the book has brief sections that explain how each lesson applies to you as a parent. (Before you let your right brain say something you'll regret later, why don't you cool down until your whole brain can function properly)
Theoretically, this book should have been great. It blends science with anecdotes, so that you can understand and apply the theory. And, not only does it present the information in three different, highly accessible ways, but it also included cheat-sheets in the back so you can quickly recall how to tackle specific problems.

Despite all these virtues, I'm not completely sold on the book. First - of course, opinions will vary - but the tone in the introduction and conclusion angered me. My mother found the intro so obnoxious she could not read on. (In general, however, the book's tone is conversational and sympathetic.) Second, even though the book is short and full of examples and approachable language, I found myself having to read parts over and over again because
I kept zoning out. Again, this may just be me, but I read A LOT, and I don't usually have this problem.

The most important thing, however, is how this book will affect your parenting, and your child's development. Again, I waffle. On the one hand, this book provides great insight onto what is going on with your kid when s/he doesn't act like a sweet little angel. On the other hand, while the authors' behavioral suggestions seem logical, they just didn't pan out in my experience. Responding to my child's emotional brain only prolonged the sniffling, instead of decreasing it, for instance. And my kid - who is so interested in just about anything that she'll BEG me to talk to her about the science of fruit or dirt at the dinner table - was resistant to the information the book had for her.

In short, I'm glad I got the information from this book, but it would have been equally useful, and considerably less frustrating, in the form of a magazine article than a full-length volume. Your mileage may vary.
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