Shawn, Ryan, and Lori discuss Chapter 6 of The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson.  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 smile.Amazon.com.  Be sure to choose CK Family Services as your charity and Amazon will make a donation to support the work of our staff and volunteers each time you make a purchase.  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.

The focus of this chapter is the “Me-We Connection: Integrating Self and Other”.  The team covers the “me-we” connections in parent-child relationships. Relationships are the foundation of human need, beginning as found in the Bible when God recognizes that Adam should not be alone. This can also be seen when a baby smiles at an adult and the adult naturally smiles. Emotional responses and engagement learned as children contribute to the development of skills children need for healthy relationships as adults. Fun-filled discussions around the purpose and pronunciation of mirror neurons, or “Looking Glass” neurons create a lively beginning to the podcast. As explained, mirror neurons are the neurons people have the enable the reflection of other people’s emotions, such as smiling when another person smiles.

Chapter 6 provides us with two more strategies; #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.

Engaging in play is largely discussed in parenting classes and therapy; however, the team really brings this discussion into the real world with stories of their own personal experiences. Play provides an opportunity to include children in daily chores and activities by promoting shared experiences. Further, engaging children through dancing, funny sounds, and even storytelling contributes to communicative channels. Shared experiences, such as cleaning up or heading to bed can increase understanding of how tasks that are generally a source of argument in the family can be developed into bonding opportunities. Some examples found in the podcast include racing to bed, contests for evening cleaning, and cooperative interactions.

Lori introduces the concepts from the book regarding the philosophy of enjoyment having a larger place in the family interactions than that of conflict experienced. Conflict is an aspect that parents can work towards reducing negative responses from children or in communication with the child. Engagement can be developed in a way that reduces the amount of conflict to increase the positive in the interactions. This returns to the “me versus we” relationship development, which is necessary for healthy relationship building skills. Although conflict is unavoidable in life, conflict management and resolution development require learning experiences during childhood. The team discusses how children are expected to achieve conflict management skills and other adult understanding when they have barely learned to tie their shoes. As described in the podcast, children must see how conflict is resolved to be able to repeat these behaviors themselves.

Mindfulness is considering how the past influences the future, such as experiences as children or relationships with parents and other adults. “Making sense” of the narrative of your life, as indicated by Lori, creates situations that we “pass on emotional life” to our children, whether good or bad. Further, repressing childhood or working towards doing the opposite of your parents, can create situations that are unaware to us as parents, and prevents us from making sense of the past and managing our understanding of those incidents.

This episode concludes our summer-long discussion of The Whole-Brain Child.  We hope you found it informative and entertaining.  Thank you for downloading and joining with us in this study/discussion.  If you enjoy the content, please remember to help us grow-the-show by sharing a link to our podcast or its episodes with your friends and family.  Also, remember to subscribe and give us a positive review.  Doing so helps the podcast directories better understand who else might be interested in our discussions.

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 

Remember to subscribe and turn on notifications so that you don’t miss an episode.  In our next episode, we will discuss the process of transitioning from summer to the school year.  God bless!

Shawn Wilson

Director of Strategy and Business Development 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