For the next few months, I am going to do a brief recap of some powerful parenting (with educational topics) books I’ve read.
Sometimes reading quotes from books helps shift my mindset on certain topics and gets me focused on what’s really important when raising children.
Book Title: The Whole-Brain Child
Complete with age-appropriate strategies for dealing with day-to-day struggles and illustrations that will help you explain these concepts to your child, The Whole-Brain Child shows you how to cultivate healthy emotional and intellectual development so that your children can lead balanced, meaningful, and connected lives.
The Whole-Brain Child is a well researched and organized book for parents. There is a section for what parents can do to help teach with these strategies then a section that highlights with a series of cartoons that you can show your child.
Top Ten Quotes:
- “As children develop, their brains “mirror” their parent’s brain. In other words, the parent’s own growth and development, or lack of those, impact the child’s brain. As parents become more aware and emotionally healthy, their children reap the rewards and move toward health as well.”
- “As parents become more aware and emotionally healthy, their children reap the rewards and move toward health as well. That means that integrating and cultivating your own brain is one of the most loving and generous gifts you can give your children.
- “Imagine a peaceful river running through the countryside. That’s your river of well-being. Whenever you’re in the water, peacefully floating along in your canoe, you feel like you’re generally in a good relationship with the world around you. You have a clear understanding of yourself, other people, and your life. You can be flexible and adjust when situations change. You’re stable and at peace. Sometimes, though, as you float along, you veer too close to one of the river’s two banks. This causes different problems, depending on which bank you approach. One bank represents chaos, where you feel out of control. Instead of floating in the peaceful river, you are caught up in the pull of tumultuous rapids, and confusion and turmoil rule the day. You need to move away from the bank of chaos and get back into the gentle flow of the river. But don’t go too far, because the other bank presents its own dangers. It’s the bank of rigidity, which is the opposite of chaos. As opposed to being out of control, rigidity is when you are imposing control on everything and everyone around you. You become completely unwilling to adapt, compromise, or negotiate. Near the bank of rigidity, the water smells stagnant, and reeds and tree branches prevent your canoe from flowing in the river of well-being. So one extreme is chaos, where there’s a total lack of control. The other extreme is rigidity, where there’s too much control, leading to a lack of flexibility and adaptability. We all move back and forth between these two banks as we go through our days—especially as we’re trying to survive parenting. When we’re closest to the banks of chaos or rigidity, we’re farthest from mental and emotional health. The longer we can avoid either bank, the more time we spend enjoying the river of well-being. Much of our lives as adults can be seen as moving along these paths—sometimes in the harmony of the flow of well-being, but sometimes in chaos, in rigidity, or zigzagging back and forth between the two. Harmony emerges from integration. Chaos and rigidity arise when integration is blocked.”
- “In terms of development, very young children are right-hemisphere dominant, especially during their first three years. They haven’t mastered the ability to use logic and words to express their feelings, and they live their lives completely in the moment—which is why they will drop everything to squat down and fully absorb themselves in watching a ladybug crawl along the sidewalk, not caring one bit that they are late for their toddler music class. Logic, responsibilities, and time don’t exist for them yet. But when a toddler begins asking “Why?” all the time, you know that the left brain is beginning to really kick in. Why? Because our left brain likes to know the linear cause-effect relationships in the world—and to express that logic with language.”
- “There’s a lot of scientific evidence demonstrating that focused attention leads to the reshaping of the brain. In animals rewarded for noticing sound (to hunt or to avoid being hunted, for example), we find much larger auditory centers in the brain. In animals rewarded for sharp eyesight, the visual areas are larger. Brain scans of violinists provide more evidence, showing dramatic growth and expansion in regions of the cortex that represent the left hand, which has to finger the strings precisely, often at very high speed. Other studies have shown that the hippocampus, which is vital for spatial memory, is enlarged in taxi drivers. The point is that the physical architecture of the brain changes according to where we direct our attention and what we practice doing.”
- “It’s also crucial to keep in mind that no matter how nonsensical and frustrating our child’s feelings may seem to us, they are real and important to our child. It’s vital that we treat them as such in our response.”
- “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.”
- “When a child is upset, logic often won’t work until we have responded to the right brain’s emotional needs.”
- “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.”
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