Shawn, Ryan, and Lori discuss the introduction, chapter 1 and chapter 2 of The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson.

This Summer we are going to dive into a discussion of the book, The Whole-Brain Child:  12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson. (https://amzn.to/2IJuJh4)  This is one of several books that CK Family Services recommends that all parents read, and it holds a special place with our show hosts.  We invite you to join us and read through the book alongside us this Summer.  Whether you are new to the book or have already read it through, we are confident that you’ll be glad you did.  If you need a copy of the book, please consider using the link above to purchase a copy via Amazon.com.  Doing so will help support the show.

If you have a community in which you already draw support, consider using this series to fuel your discussion topics.  If you are looking for community consider joining our Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/fosterfamilymatters/ where you can get direct access to Shawn, Ryan, and Lori.

One of the things we like about this book is that the strategies are practical and well stated.  The combination of Dan and Tina is a one-two punch of intellect and relatability that provides contextual visual examples and explanations that are easy to understand and readily applicable to modern day parenting.

In this episode, we start by discussing the introduction through chapter 2.  We focus on the importance of understanding that our children’s brains are a work in progress and that by the choices we make as parents we guide the development of their brains and the way our children view and function in their environment.  For anyone who has concerns that the way things are now is the way they will be forever, this book will spark hope that you can change your stars through purposeful and intentional parenting strategies.

One of our favorite illustrations from this first part of the book is the depiction of chaos, calm, and rigidity as a river.  Too frequently parents view chaos and calm as the ends of the spectrum, but we learn in the book that the calm place is in the middle of the stream halfway between the opposing shores of chaos and rigidity.

Our brains have natural hemispheres.  In this first part of our discussion, we talk about the left brain and the right brain.  Our left brains can be equated with our logical thought processes and our right brains can be equated with emotional thought processes.  Each hemisphere provides an important aspect of our humanity.  The left brain is the letter of the law and the right brain is the spirit of the law.  The left-brain provides content and the right brain provides context.  As parents, we can take steps to help our children more readily integrate their left-brain, right-brain connectivity and engagement.  The two halves of our brain must work together for us to make sense of the world.

The first strategy presented in the book is Connect and Redirect: Surfing Emotional Waves.  The strategy involves encouraging left/right integration by first connecting with your child right-brain to right-brain.  Make an emotional connection.  Join your child and validate their feelings.  Express empathy and listen to their words and reflect with them.  The second part of the strategy is to redirect.  This is not the same sort of redirection many of us deploy when correcting behavior that is basically a distraction.  This redirection is purposeful and intentional focusing the child’s logical thoughts toward the desired outcome.  For this strategy to work, we must first connect right-brain to right-brain and then we can leverage the left brain through redirection.

The second strategy for the promotion of left/right integration is Name It to Tame It: Telling Stories to Calm Big Emotions.  If you really want to be set free from your trauma and from the big emotions that seem to control your behavior, you must come to terms with it.  Parents must help our children tell their story to help them name it and tame it.  “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:32.

We are so glad that you have listened to this episode and we invite you to subscribe to our show via the subscription feature on your favorite podcast tool.  We are trying to increase our audience and so we ask you to help us by sharing, liking, staring, and leaving positive reviews (if you have positive thoughts on our show).

Our next episode will focus on the strategies in chapter 3 of The Whole-Brain Child.  We look forward to engaging with you over the course of the summer.

If you have not already, join our Facebook Group here:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/fosterfamilymatters/

If you have not already, pick up a copy of the book here:  https://amzn.to/2IJuJh4

If you are looking for our website, you will find it here:  www.fosterfamilymatters.org 

Shawn Wilson

Chief Business Development Officer at CK Family Services
Shawn has spent more than 23 years serving children and families.He initially worked with adjudicated youth, focusing on serious offenders and their reintegration following incarceration. Shawn began serving children in Texas Foster Care in 2000 as a Case Manager and now serves as a key member of CK Family Services leadership team.
Shawn Wilson