The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind

(66 customer reviews)

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“Simple, smart, and effective solutions to your child’s struggles.”—Harvey Karp, M.D.In this pioneering, practical book, Daniel J. Siegel, neuropsychiatrist and author of the bestselling Mindsight, and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson offer a revolutionary approach to child rearing with twelve key strategies that foster healthy brain development, leading to calmer, happier children. The authors explain—and make accessible—the new science of how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures. The “upstairs brain,” which makes decisions and balances emotions, is under construction until the mid-twenties. And especially in young children, the right brain and its emotions tend to rule over the logic of the left brain. No wonder kids throw tantrums, fight, or sulk in silence. By applying these discoveries to everyday parenting, you can turn any outburst, argument, or fear into a chance to integrate your child’s brain and foster vital growth.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.

66 reviews for The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind

  1. C. Mecklenborg

    Shockingly devoid of citations

    Can a girl get a citation up in here? For a book supposedly steeped in neuroscience, written by a clinical psychiatrist and a psychotherapist, this book is shockingly devoid of citations. The authors off-handedly reference half a dozen or so studies, but it’s all in the parlance of “researchers have shown…” with no names or universities, much less a full-fledged citation.

    The neuroscience in this book is seriously watered down and perpetuates pop psychology myths like brain lateralization (right brain/left brain theory). While the best research debunking lateralization came out in 2013, after this book was written, it was already considered an outdated theory by neuroscientists well before that. The “upstairs”/”downstairs” brain dichotomy is still considered valid, however.

    I was also put off by the fact that the last two chapters (a full third of the book) is a thinly veiled advertisement for one of Daniel Siegel’s other books, Mindsight. “Mindsight”, as it turns out, is a nigh-useless term that both refers to inward-facing mindfulness and external-facing empathy.

    The advice in here is not bad. It is in keeping with my other reading on early childhood development and attachment/respectful parenting practices. However, it’s one of the weakest examples of “pop psychology” literature that I’ve had the misfortune of reading. If you want rigorous, up-to-date science to back up your parenting style, look elsewhere.

    Helpful? 76 0
  2. Robert Morris

    How and why "the moments you are just trying to survive are actually opportunities to help your child to thrive"

    As a father of three sons and a daughter and one of the grandfathers of their ten children, I can certainly understand what Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson have in mind while discussing moments of extreme stress for parents when their children become infuriating and intolerable. That is why I was intrigued by their explanation of the power of the “whole-brain approach” during all manner of touchpoints in parent-child relationships. That power is especially helpful in “the moments you are just trying to survive” because it creates “opportunities to help your child to thrive.” In fact, the 12 strategies that Siegal and Bryson recommend can be effective for almost [begin italics] anyone [end italics] who has direct and frequent contact with children, including teachers, coaches, and clergy as well as parents and other relatives.

    In fact, with only minor modification, I think they can be beneficial to interactive relationships between and among adults, especially to those within a workplace.

    “What’s great about this survive-and-thrive approach is that you don’t have to try to carve out special time to help your children thrive. You can use [begin italics] all [end italics] of the interactions you share – the stressful, angry ones as well as the miraculous, adorable ones – as opportunities to help them become the responsible, caring, capable people you want them to be. That’s what this book is about: using those everyday moments with your kids to help them reach their true potential.”

    These are among the passages that caught my eye:

    o Integration of Various Mental Domains (Pages 6-10)
    o Get in the Flow: Navigating the Waters Between Chaos and Rigidity (10-13)
    o Left Brain, Right Brain: An Introduction (15-16)
    o Two Halves Make a Whole: Combining the Left and the Right (18-22)
    o The Mental Staircase: Integrating the Upstairs and Downstairs Brain (38-41)
    o Integrating Ourselves: Using Our Own Mental Staircase (64-65)
    o Integrating Implicit and Explicit: Assembling the Puzzle Pieces of the Mind (76-86)
    o Mindsight and the Wheel of Awareness (93-97)
    o Integrating Ourselves: Looking at Our Own Wheel of Awareness (117-118)
    o Laying the Groundwork for Connection: Creating Positive Mental Models (125-127)
    o Cultivating a “Yes” State of Mind: Helping Kids Be Receptive to Relationships (129-133)
    o Integrating Ourselves: Making Sense of Our Own Story (143-144)

    Note: I urge you to check out another of Siegal’s books, Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation, in which Mindsight and the Wheel of Awareness are among the subjects discussed.

    Readers will appreciate Siegal and Bryson’s skillful use of “What You Can Do” sections throughout their narrative that serve several purposes, notably focusing on key points while suggesting specific initiatives to apply what has been learned from the given material. For example, “What You Can Do: Helping Your Child Work from Both Sides of the Brain” (Pages 22-33). Dozens of eminently appropriate illustrations were created by Tuesday Mourning.

    However, no brief commentary such as mine could possibly do full justice to the scope and depth of what Siegal and Bryson cover, with eloquence as well as rigor. I have elected not to list the twelve (12) strategies because I think they are best revealed in context, within the narrative. I do presume to suggest that those who are about to read this book begin and then frequently review later the “Whole-Brain Ages and Stages” material (on Pages 154-168) because it creates a wide and deep context, a frame of reference, for the abundance of information, insights, and recommendations in the six preceding chapters and Conclusion, “Bringing It All Together. “

    This book need not be read straight through (although I prefer that approach) but it should certainly be consulted frequently, hence the importance of “Whole-Brain Ages and Stages” and the Index as well as (I hope) passages of special importance that have been highlighted.

    I also presume to suggest that Daniel Siegal and Tina Payne Bryson’s brilliant book will be most valuable to whole-brain readers. In it, they provide what they characterize in the Introduction as “an antidote to parenting and academic approaches that overemphasize achievement and perfection at any cost.” It is imperative that everyone involved directly (and even indirectly) with the development if children “understand some basics about the young brain that [they] are helping to grow and develop.”

    Helpful? 70 0
  3. Sarah

    1 star reviews are getting something wrong

    Very obnoxious to read 1 star reviews saying right brain/left brain science debunked. The concept that there are “right brain” and “left brain” people is what had debunked. It is not debunked neuroscience to say some functions happen on one side of the brain or the other. This is an entry level book for parents who want to understand brain development better than “my kid is intentionally trying to stress me” which is the mainstream cultural narrative. It isn’t and doesn’t claim to be a neuroscience textbook. I’m someone who looks at neuroscience and child development research for fun. I understand the desire for a deeper more complex understanding. But this isn’t a research article. It’s a great book for new parents.

    Helpful? 54 0
  4. Ed B.

    If you get only one book ever on child development, let it be this one.

    Having read about half a dozen or so books specifically on childhood development and another dozen or so on stoicism and other mental health practices, I’ve concluded that this is THE authoritative book that every parent should read at least once. First off, the way it is written is very casual and familiar, which makes it very accessible to anyone who is even remotely literate. Second, the concepts featured are easy to understand and explained in a a very succinct way. Third, it isn’t a laundry list of techniques; its a topical analysis of the most effective methods on how to connect with your children emotionally and logically. And fourth (a big one for me), this isn’t a “how you’re screwed up mentally, so fix yourself first” book. Any parent can read this book and pick up the techniques and apply them immediately. There’s no “blame yourself first, then address the issue” cathartic flagellation message here.

    As I worked my way through the book, I tried the techniques on my 2.5 year old and it was pretty much miraculous. I already had a good relationship with her, but connecting on a different level was rewarding as a parent. It helped me help her work through tantrums, difficult or scary situations, and find ways to effectively problem solve on her own. This book doesn’t just empower us parents, it empowers our children too, which should be the end goal of every parent.

    The book is a quick read (I finished it in about a week working full time and with 4 kids in the household), so its very accessible. The content is immediately useful and non-judgemental. As my review title suggests, if there were only one book us parents could read about child development and the role we as parents play in that development, it needs to be this book.

    Helpful? 43 0
  5. inlori Customer

    Not a big “reader”?? YOU CAN READ THIS!

    Let me start off by saying I’m not a huge “reader”. I don’t have the greatest attention span and I’ve never been one to grab a book for fun. I finished this book in 3 days. The desire to be a better parent for my baby was definitely a good push, but i genuinely enjoyed reading this. My husband commented on how fast I was moving through it. It made me laugh a couple of times and the authors made the material extremely easy to digest.I LOVE that this is backed by science. I love that in the times where i am exercising these skills in front of others, if I ever get a question i am able to share facts that I’ve learned from this book.I recommend this for all parents, care-takers, and teachers!!

    Helpful? 34 0
  6. Sandy Farmer

    4 Stars

    Parenting is hard. One of, if not the, hardest things I’ve ever done. Molding a human being is tough. Teaching them. Instructing them. Guiding them. Saying “no” is hard. And then dealing with the fallout is hard. And some children are easier than others. But all of them struggle just as we adults and parents struggle. One thing I realized is that I literally know nothing about brain or child development. My parenting strategies have mostly been to mimic what I remember my parents doing when I was a child. Only that didn’t seem to be working as well as I hoped. And when something isn’t working, I go into research mode. I’ve found some sources that have been helpful, and those sources also recommended this book.

    The Whole-Brain Child offers a lot of practical ways to help your children. I was feeling a little frustrated when I got to the end of the book because I didn’t see these practical ways, but there’s a section at the end of the text that goes more specifically into each age range with practical tips. This is what I was looking for.

    I feel like The Whole-Brain Child was packed with information. Good information. Scientifically researched information. But for me, I find that the first time I’m exposed to a topic, the information might not soak in so well. So I definitely think I could benefit from re-reading The Whole-Brain Child. And I have intentions to do just that.

    I have already put some things I’ve learned into practice with my children. And I can see these strategies being helpful. At the same time, I can see that I need more practice to get better at calling these strategies to mind in the moment. Shoot, I actually could use some of these strategies in my own brain for a calmer life.

    The Whole-Brain Child gets 4 Stars. It might be worthy of 5 Stars upon a re-read when I absorb more of the information and put it into practice with my kids. So maybe I’ll come back and update this review down the road. Until then… Have you read The Whole-Brain Child? What did you think? Let me know!

    Helpful? 23 0
  7. Fred Cheyunski

    Brain Science Applied for Parenting and Beyond

    “The Whole-Brain Child” applies brain science as described in Siegel’s 

    Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation

     (see my review) to developing children from infants to age 12. Since this book is so extensively reviewed, I will offer less about its content and more about my reasons for finding it particularly helpful.

    The subtitle of “12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind” basically covers the sequence of the narrative. As the authors indicate the various parts are geared to parents and other caretakers in their children’s lives. Consistent with this intent, we got considerable benefit in understanding and working with young members of our extended family and their parents to help in our journey to survive and thrive.

    It seems that such use of brain science in parenting is particularly important given what Camille Paglia has had to say about current dilemmas with individuals dealing with careers and balancing their personal lives in “Free Women, Free Men” (see my review). Siegel’s “Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain” also provides insights about that important time along with the path forward.

    In addition to its practical value with the family, the book highlights and more fully illustrates the cultivation of ‘mindsight,’ mental health, and personal transformation or said another way functioning in a “whole brain” integrated manner. The extension of such a mode of operation might been seen to manifest itself into such works as Mitteldorf and Sagan’s “Cracking the Aging Code” and Desai’s “Wisdom of Finance” (see my reviews).

    Among the parts that I found most helpful where the cartoon versions that illustrate the various nurturing strategies, the “Integrating Ourselves” sections that talk about related parent life and relationship matters, as well as the Refrigerator and Ages and Stages charts at the end. The whole-brain perspective indicates that the issues and mistakes are opportunities for growth and development as well as that our job is not to remove all difficulties, but to be present and connect with our children through the ups and downs of life.

    Helpful? 23 0
  8. love

    tedious read

    Sorry for the 2 stars for those of you who loved it (overwhelming majority). I rarely post book reviews as i get that opinions are entirely subjective. However, this was a tedious and painful read and I could barely get through the book. As a busy parent, I want to spare some of you the agony. Extremely redundant, can’t get through 2 pages before being reminded about our left brains and right brains and our kids’ left brains and right brains and how to integrate them! Good lord, we got that in the introduction! I didn’t think there was anything “Revolutionary” in the advice that is repeatedly given- basically, just different ways to reason with the child, no matter what the issue or behavior at hand. The only exception being a full blown tantrum in which you do a time out with them. Thats my gist.

    Helpful? 21 0
  9. Emily Morosky

    Interesting read

    I thought “The Whole-Brain Child” was an interesting and beneficial book to read. It discusses communication strategies for connecting better with your child by integrating the whole brain (both logic and emotion) into your interactions. It explains the different parts of the brain in a straight-forward manner that is easy to understand, thus making reading about science enjoyable and engaging. The book emphasizes the importance of identifying and acknowledging your child’s feelings even if you think he is overreacting. The book teaches readers how to approach such situations in a way that reconnects children with their own emotions by communicating with the emotional side of your brain as well. As a result, your child will feel more positively about himself, and about you, because you are respectful and understanding of his thoughts and feelings. Many of the strategies focus on guiding your children through their emotional experiences by asking questions which enable them to freely express feelings as well as to better understand them. By working together, parents and children can identify and create solutions to problems. I was a bit skeptical about whether or not the strategies would actually work. Regardless, I am looking forward to trying the strategies to see if they are successful. I do wish, however, that the authors had elaborated about ways to incorporate the strategies while using discipline. The book mentions when children misbehave, you do have to set boundaries and discipline them, but it does not explain the best way to do so. I think it would be beneficial to know how to incorporate these strategies with effective means of discipline.

    Helpful? 20 0
  10. rand


    Disappointed. This book is dry and frankly a little pretentious. The book sounds revolutionary, using and repeating a lot of terms backed supposedly by scientific explanations, but if you take away the fancy diagrams and gimmicky terms, it boils down to the same few century old concepts (e.g. mindfulness, be present, etc.) you can find in other self-help books. There are occasionally useful bits of info, but overall it annoys me a lot for trying to sound revolutionary by slapping new labels on tried-and-true concepts.

    Helpful? 18 0
  11. MJ14

    Intimidating science, translated beautifully for the common reader, and applied astutely to parent-child interactions.

    This is a very well conceived and executed book, and very worth your time. The authors do a tremendous job of translating neurobiology and cognitive psychology into basic language for a general audience, for use in direct child interactions. Through each of their 12 strategies for understanding and interacting with “The Whole-Brained Child,” the authors begin by describing in an unintimidating manner the portion of the brain and its function that will be subsequently discussed from a behavioral standpoint. From here, they use that behavioral basis and give very detailed examples of how to handle child behavior stemming from the associated biology, referring back to the brain as a reference point rather than as the focus.

    The point of the book, all science aside, is in dealing with certain child developmental features and behaviors (such as implicit memory, tantrums, fear of failure) by connecting with children directly. The science is used to serve as a backdrop but is a fascinating addition to what otherwise would be a simple behavioral book. Instead of just saying HOW to interact with children, the authors show us WHY, which lends a much greater and more nuanced understanding to the how. This book provides a unique opportunity to read about everyday situations with children and relate them quickly and easily to a neurobiological level.

    Though the authors say the book can be for direct childcare practitioners (such as teachers and daycare workers), the obvious target is parents. Here there are some issues. The book seems to be written for a white, suburban, middle class parent as opposed to the general population. Additionally, the practicality of some of the strategies is not immediately apparent, and the amount of effort required for many parents will be substantial – a paradigm shift for some ways. The illustrations are helpful in showing the dos and don’ts (not labelled as such, thankfully), but I found myself thinking the don’ts were many parent’s default. The strategies really are a shift in thinking and require a lot of skill and investment to execute, but they are definitely achievable. In no way does this book alienate parents with over-expectations.

    I also felt some situations I felt were not addressed adequately. Most of the examples of child behavior and parental involvement deal with more mundane, everyday occurrences from the ‘average’ child. If you are interested in how to explain to your child what death is, this book doesn’t venture into those dangerous waters. Nor does it address more difficult children. Additionally, the section of bringing implicit memories to the explicit is somewhat suspect in its claims and its basis, which some may find hypocritical. If implicit memories are necessarily altered as the authors say, why would a parent with altered memories of an incident helping a child reconstruct the child’s own altered memories of that same incident serve to help the child? I wonder too about parental inconsistency when using these strategies. Again, they are intensive and hard to do in the moment the behavior is being exhibited by the child. I do believe these are not major issues, however. The authors’ stress on underlying the importance of connection, integration of thought, and mindset make most of the above manageable simply by establishing a trusting baseline relationship with the child.

    Overall, I believe the pros of this book outweigh the negatives, though they should be noted. The authors’ ability to successfully and fluently translate incredibly intricate science to the common reader (no college degree seems necessary for reading, but a level of literacy is assumed) is no small feat. It makes me wish more laboratory experiments that have real-world implications can be taken by researchers into the hands of the people that actually need and use them on a daily basis. Parents will find the strategies difficult to implement and will certainly encounter situations not touched upon here, but this is well worth the read. And it won’t take you long…the writing style is easy to follow, the science unobtrusive and accessible, and the situations are often in dialogue-form and wonderfully vivid. Along with the illustrations and a very helpful appendix at the end denoting in which age ranges a parent should expect certain behaviors to manifest in, this book is a win.

    Helpful? 16 0
  12. Nichole

    Best book ever for parents

    This booking me so much in sight. It was absolutely a lifesaver in my household as I have three young boys, and we are a blended family and boy where we having some difficulties, and this book really shed some light on some things, and really helped my partner, and I come together and start to change the way that we parented. I always recommend this book to any parent.

    Helpful? 13 0
  13. inlori Customer

    Great Book

    My bf and i are reading this book. We are a few chapters deep and love this book. We’ve learned a lot already about comminicating with kids and even with each other. Even as an adult, you will learn about yourself, your partner and communicating with anyone after understanding the brain a little more. I have been recommending this book to everyone!

    Helpful? 12 0
  14. Nea Rose<span class="a-icon a-profile-verified-badge"><span class="a-profile-verified-text"></span></span>

    Very good information

    You can never stop learning about your child. I needed this book so I can better understand my children’s mindsets, and how I can handle situations differently, knowing what I know now.

    Helpful? 11 0
  15. inlori Customer

    Physical is instantly falling apart

    While the content of this book is awesome so far and this is no fault of the authors, I’d recommend buying from a different listing. I’m literally 15 pages in and every other page has fallen out as I’m reading. Since this is the sort of book you’re supposed to be able to refer back to, and I wanted my partner to read it too, this is kind of a bummer. I don’t see this copy lasting long.

    Helpful? 11 0
  16. Lauren P

    Gives great examples throughout

    I’m focused on the toddler portion of this but it is very helpful for parents of any young aged child

    The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind
    Helpful? 9 0
  17. Kayla

    Game changer

    This is the book you were looking for. It provides insights into what’s going on in your growing child’s brain in ways that is easily understood and memorable. They even offer ways to talk to your kids about their brain development in she appropriate terms. The tools presented are powerful, easy to recall, and usable right away. I can’t give this book enough stars!

    Helpful? 8 0
  18. Vicky

    A must read for anyone who interacts with kids

    This book is written in an easy to read way while also explaining neurobiology and ways to help nurture children. Whether you are a teacher, therapist, parent or caretaker, I think this book is vital.

    Helpful? 7 0
  19. Jason P. Johnson

    buy the book

    I’ve been a mental health therapist for 9 years and this book is a wonderful resource I’ve used with parents and those looking to prepare for or adjust to adopting

    Helpful? 7 0
  20. Jeff Olson

    Exceptionally helpful

    It’s been a while for me since having my own kids in the house, since I’m now a granddad. This is an exceptional book that has helped me be present and supportive of my grandchildren, who are now turning 2 and 4. And as a side benefit it’s got great stuff on how to be a better adult!

    Helpful? 7 0
  21. Daniel J Lamonte

    never too late

    I have three teenagers and a seven yr old… what I would have given to have this resource 16 years ago!


    It not too late… parenting perfectly is impossible… but parenting can be done through practice & presence.

    An unexpected side benefit of this book was the therapy I received to process my own issues, thoughts, feelings, and reactions.

    Helpful? 7 0
  22. John

    Opened my eyes

    Until we got this book I believed it impossible my child had use of her entire brain. Watching her blow her nose and drop the kleenex on the floor and running away laughing maniacally as I ask over and over for her to just put it in the trash can. Seeing her have full on conversations with the 3rd from left porch column in the backyard (even getting into arguments and not talking for 5 days even making me wonder slightly what did that column do so wrong to my child). Or like when she touches a piece of paper and screams for a bandaid because of an invisible paper cut, yet can fall off her bed into her bookcase and laugh as she takes off running facefirst into the wall without batting an eye.
    These things gave me much pause about the full use of my child’s brain but after reading this book I know that she does have a brain and one day, possibly, she will use it. I hope.

    Helpful? 6 0
  23. Jonathan D Franklin

    A slightly verbose but insightful expository on kids mind development that reaches beyond the basics of parenting

    I enjoyed the book. But, I found it verbose; perhaps that is because I’m so busy. I long for a book that appreciates the needs of a busy parent…. 😃 something that gets the points across efficiently and summarizes the key aspects at the end of a chapter for efficient and effective access in the future.

    With that in mind, I note this book does a decent job of getting the material to you to digest. But by the time I finished it I was having difficulty recalling the first few points of the broader 12. The end does a nice job of giving you a quick summary for different phases for kids. Still, it was too light to be a benefit. So, I found myself having to go back and reread chapters to cull out information. Fortunately, I highlight my books. That mad it less time consuming.

    Now, having said that, there are some very insightful concepts and principles that transcend the phases of parenting and childhood growth. My criticisms here are not unique to this book. I find myself longing for all books of this ilk to be more efficient. Here, I don’t want to suggest the book wasn’t a solid read – because it was. I just want you to go into it recognizing the need to be patient and understand that you might need to reread chapters to cull out points again for daily usage. In time, though, the points can become second nature.

    Closing, you’ll note I don’t get into the specifics about the books points. That was deliberate I won’t pretend to have a clue about what approach is needed or will work for others in their parenting journey. But, for me, understanding the wiring of my kids and their passion… was of keen interest. This book struck a solid note on each. I see a need now for recalibrating my parenting to help my kids grow and develop essential life skills. Perhaps that is why the book is not a quick easy outline, because parenting is not a quick easy outline. Cheers!

    Helpful? 6 0
  24. Butterfly24

    innovative strategies of parenting to try out

    This book is worth reading! Though it talks about Children’s brain, it is not a theoretical book. Very straightforward so it is easy to read. This book provides 12 strategies that based on the theory of integrating the left and right brain, integrating the upstairs brain and the downstairs brain, integrating memory, integrating the many parts of myself, and integrating self and other. I really like its idea about connecting your child’s right brain first to acknowledge their feeling and emotion at that moment first before dealing logically with the issues at hand.
    Another thing i like about this book is that it gives many examples that are quite common for parents. I am not hundred percent sure the suggestions provided in the book work for your kids, but at least you could try it and see.
    Also, this book has cartoons to explain the theories, which is also good for you to share the knowledge of brain with your kids. At the end of the book,it provides a chart of strategies for kids from different ages(0-12 ages), which is convenient and valuable for parenting as well.

    Helpful? 6 0
  25. Patrick D

    More how-to than neuroscience but very useful.

    I picked up this book encouraged by the fact that it is based on neuroscience. The authors focus more on practical advice for how to work with your child to use the different parts of their brain than the underlying neuroscience. I prefer to understand theory first so that I can develop my own strategies for implementing it so I was a little disappointed in the limited coverage of the cognitive and emotional theory.

    Putting the disappointment in the lack of theory coverage aside, the advice is useful and it works. One of the strategies promoted in the book is to help your child to understand their emotions from the right brain by using their reasoning skills from the left brain. The authors promote integrating memories, particularly painful ones, by reliving the experience to understand it. I was skeptical of the habit of attaching causes to all events, particularly emotional ones.

    There may be therapeutic reasons for attaching a cause (even an incorrect one) to an event as I quickly learned by applying the strategy. Our 3 year old had a doctor’s appointment last week and did not want to go because she “didn’t like it”. I tried to figure out why by stepping through the process with her so she could remember it. (First we go to the waiting room – do you like the waiting room? Yes, I get to look at pictures… and so on). We figured out that last time she went to the doctor, she got her ears pierced (which she wanted) and it hurt. Once she understood her fear was related to the pain from ear piercing and not the doctor in general, she was happy to go to the doctor.

    I look forward to using more of the strategies in the book to help our daughter better integrate her emotional and analitical sides of her mind. I give the review 4 stars because I would prefer more theory coverage.

    Helpful? 6 0
  26. Kristin

    Must Read!

    Every parent should read it!
    Extremely insightful and well written guidance on how to help my kids better integrate (and good words for me too!).

    Helpful? 5 0
  27. Jennifer

    Phenomenal read, 10/10 recommend it!

    I wish every single person alive could read this book!!!!!!! So darn HELPFUL and not only has it changed so much about how I parent my 6 children, it has actually helped my 37 year old HUSBAND better regulate himself and process things differently than he ever has, because of the simple yet profound truths about human development!!!!!!!!! Highly recommend!!!

    Helpful? 5 0
  28. inlori Customer

    Fantastic Book

    Fantastic book to help understand little minds (and actually, our own as well) better, and how to engage/act/react, and just have reminders and tools to learn and pay attention and work at certain things in a better, or different, way. A wonderful book to help embrace it all

    Helpful? 4 0
  29. Minjoo

    I will treasure this book

    Highly recommend this book. I have read books focused on behavior management mostly but this book was an eye opener! The brain strategies of this book will surely also help me as I teach my kids.

    Helpful? 4 0
  30. inlori Customer

    Great Book for Parents

    Great content written by a very knowledgeable person. I believe they are actually a doctor in psychology/neurology and they are able to explain the processes going on with our children’s brains as they grow up to better help connect the point and understand it. Would recommend to any parents with children of any age. I wish I would have read this book before we got to the terrible two’s so we could’ve started using these techniques and knowledge with our daughter. The book also feels of good quality and has held up well throughout me reading it.

    Helpful? 4 0
  31. Larry

    A bit wordy occasionally but a solid read for emotional dunce fathers

    I try my hardest to be a rounded, caring father to my son but I’m given to the stereotype of dads that aren’t great at tending to the emotional needs of the child. Playing, feeding, changing, etc. all come naturally to me but I forget to consider the whole brain really.

    This book, while redundant every now and then, is a great way to a) focus on the emotional needs of your child and b) develop some tools so that you feel confident doing it.

    Part of the problem has been that I simply don’t know how to approach these tough conversations. Having read this book, I feel much more capable to start making learning experiences in the everyday moments we too often let slip on by.

    Highly recommend.

    Helpful? 4 0
  32. Kimberlee R McDowell

    Brain science explained easily for parents

    Actual brain scientists, who are also parents, wrote this book. They wrote it to where anyone can understand and relate. If you want to understand more about your child and learn ways to help nurture them to be emotionally intelligent, read this book!

    The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind
    Helpful? 3 0
  33. Taylor

    One of my favorite books of all time

    One of my favorite books of all time. Just a well-written, helpful book.

    Helpful? 3 0
  34. Taylor Larreau

    So worth it!

    Such a great read!

    Helpful? 3 0
  35. Nichole

    Buy this!!!

    I think anyone with children should read this. It gives very helpful insight into how their brains work so you can help instead of getting frustrated as they are telling you something for the 100th time lol.

    Helpful? 3 0
  36. JAMES

    Amazing and game changing

    I am not even completely done reading this book and it has already helped me understand so much more about the wild world that is the child’s brain. So many things that I have never even considered that may be going through these tiny humans developing brains when they hit tantrum mode, or stubborn kid mode, and how to better my overall interactions on the day to day tip. Has parts that help you understand how to implement the things you’ve learned from the chapters you’ve read. Has plenty of real world stories from the authors and regular people going through the same things we all have been through with our own kiddos. Even has cool little cartoon portions so you can post up with your kids and walk them through to help open up discussions. Very cool read so far and I’m loving the things I’ve learned already in how to find the root of what’s going on in my little nuggets developing brain box.

    Helpful? 3 0
  37. Jana B.

    Practical, science-backed advice to understand where your kid's head is at

    I really liked this book for helping me learn the best way to respond to my toddler’s big emotions. Dr. Siegel uses neuroscience and understanding of child development stages to back up his recommended parenting strategies, and I really liked the specific examples in the book for how parents used these strategies. I guess the only thing I didn’t like was the “comic” at the end of every chapter that you can read with your kid – maybe because it’s just not ideal for my toddler, but if you had an older kid it might be helpful. I skipped over it but it took up a large chunk of the book. Other than that, I highlighted a lot of stuff and I’m going to keep it forever as a guidebook.

    Helpful? 3 0
  38. sfc

    If parents read just one parenting book, this is the one.

    This book was referred to me by my friend who is a family therapist and is well known across the child psychology industry.
    Dan Siegel describes the functions of each of the parts of the brain, then focuses on integrating the different parts. He uses examples of common child behavior / situations and explains how the brain is working in those moments with those behaviors, and what we can do as parents to understand how their brain is functioning in that moment, how to communicate to the child in the situation in the most receptive way, and how to use these situations as learning and developing tools. Like when a child is overly emotional or in a tantrum, you have to work with their right brain emotion in those moments because its in control, and you can later introduce the left brain logic. I know, thats probably one of the more basic concepts, but he does a great job of explaining the science behind the actions. What he talks about totally makes sense intuitively, but see it laid out and explained in a scientific way was pretty fascinating.
    Understanding the developing brain has been sooo helpful in my understanding of how to be a better parent. For me, having this foundation of knowledge is so much more powerful than reading through a million other “parenting” books and trying a bunch of different techniques. I feel so much more confident in the decisions I’m making as a parent, and I know how to respond to my children across a spectrum depending on their personality or the situation. It realllly helps reduce the frustration on BOTH sides.
    Plus, this is also so helpful to understand other people in your lives. There were a few ‘ahha’ moments in there in which I totally understood what happens between two adults during a heated discussion.
    I do think that he spends a bit too much time on the wheel- hub/spoke analogy. He describes each of the spokes essentially as a piece of our personality, but they don’t individually define who we are. They are all connected and make us whole. I may not be describing it exactly properly, as I might have zoned out on that piece, but its the one part where he deters from the science and lost my interest.
    PS…I downloaded this on audible to listen to it during the non-child part of my daily commute because, as we all know, how many parents have the extra time to sit and read through a book?
    PSS…Dan Siegel just came out with a book regarding the developing teenage brain. Given that the idea of having teenage daughters is one of my fears, I will definitely be reading that one in a few years!

    Helpful? 3 0
  39. inlori Customer

    Great book!

    Perfect! Thank you.

    Helpful? 2 0
  40. RM

    Awesome book

    Highly recommend it for parents, especially those who live away from their families. This book helps you to understand the baby well, hence well prepared for parenting.

    Helpful? 2 0
  41. Crystalwasinger

    Seller bought book at Good Will for 3 99 and sold it for

    This is a great book. However, the back of the book has a tag from a good will for 3.99 and I purchased it on here for 15.99. Seriously, do us all a favor remove tags when you purchase products that you are going to mark up.

    The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind
    The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind
    Helpful? 2 0
  42. Earth-Up


    The book offers tremendous knowledge of the science of a child’s brain. At times it was a bit hard to stick to it. I think if it followed a more age related format like from infancy up it may have been easier to follow. Instead it jumps all over from different age groups.

    Helpful? 2 0
  43. Jamie Kmett

    Whole-Brain, YES!

    The Whole-Brain Child could certainly be a breath of fresh air for parents who struggle with “behaviorally challenged” children. The authors (Siegel is a neuropsychiatrist) explain basic brain anatomy, functions, and development (such as left brain (logic) vs. right brain (emotions)), and utilize it by linking this biological development to the emotional development. Siegel & Bryson then use this as a basis for explaining 12 basic strategies that can help aid in behavioral issues in children, enable “teachable moments” more frequently, help develop a child’s memory, and help with the maturation process, and develop memory.

    For instance, there is “Connect and Redirect.” By “integrating” left and right brain, parents can learn how calm a potentially stormy situation. If one’s child is being emotional or throwing a tantrum, a parent shouldn’t fight the emotions with logic (it will backfire), but connect to the emotionality of the child in his or her current state. When the child calms, then redirect to the logic of the situation. This may not even occur the same day, but it allows the parent to connect with the raw emotional-ness of the child, which tunes the child into them, allowing them to connect with the left side, to explain the logic-ness of the child’s action. It is very simple, and discussed much deeper and elaborately.

    Another example include “Engage, don’t Enrage,” explaining that when in high- stress situations, engage the child’s upstairs (and not downstairs) brain. Not “Because I said so,” but inquiring, seeking alternative solutions, and negotiating (if needed).
    Siegel and Bryson do a fantastic job of explaining their strategies and stating their case for their method. Any parent who has trouble with their child’s behaviors, or simply for a parent who wants another way to look at raising their children, should read this book. Knowledge is power!

    Helpful? 2 0
  44. Tiffany M

    Book received with the binding falling apart

    It appears as if it’s new but there are entire sections of pages partially and completely separated from the binding.

    The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind
    The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind
    Helpful? 0 0
  45. JS

    Struggling so hard to power through this book

    I really wanted to love this book and to find it really insightful and helpful but so far that hasn’t exactly been the case. I will say, I’m only half way through probably, so take this with a grain of salt.
    It just feels like the whole first chunk of the book they’re telling you what they plan to tell you about…as if they’re continuously prepping you for what’s ahead instead of just getting into it and making their points. Unfortunately a lot of the material feels like things a lot of us probably already know. All that said, I hope it gets better. I’m determined to get to the end of this little book so I can get it off my nightstand once and for all.

    Helpful? 0 0
  46. inlori Customer

    Must Read!

    Hands down everyone should read this book regardless if you have children or not!

    Helpful? 0 0
  47. J

    Arrived beaten up/bent

    Purchased new and arrived with cover torn, dented bent

    Helpful? 0 0
  48. turquoisegold

    Hated it

    I’ve had this book for 6 months. I’d pick it up, start reading and could never get into it. I thought maybe I was distracted. I finally committed to reading the darn thing. 3 chapters in I realized it’s not me. It’s the book. It’s terrible. They’re saying a lot of words without actually saying much at all m. Save your money and time. There are much better parenting and child development books out there

    Helpful? 0 0
  49. Lily

    My study guide!

    Thus book is more like a long term companion. Very insightful.

    Helpful? 0 0
  50. Arthur Smith


    It was a very good informative book

    Helpful? 0 0
  51. Swowzers

    No cover

    It came with no cover, it is a bummer because it’s a great book aside from that….

    Helpful? 0 0
  52. Andrea

    Missing chapter 3!

    The book started off great but is missing chapter 3! Would love to get a replacement but the publishing company replied that they are super busy and may not respond for a long time.

    Helpful? 0 0
  53. SamJ

    Good content but reads like an infomercial

    I almost returned this book even though I love the content. The writing is entirely unbearable. There’s lots of fluff and build up to a few golden nuggets. It helped to read certain sections in an infomercial voice to tolerate the agony. It’s a short book but could have been 10 pages total.

    Yet the science of emotional disregulation and attachment soothing are pure gold. Our parenting would not be same without it. If only they had actually cared about the writing, it would be an outstanding book.

    Helpful? 0 0
  54. Melinda


    The information is spot on, but it is written in a way that it’s simplistically annoying. The author seems to talk down to the reader like he is explaining rocket science to a toddler. Full of childish drawings to further suggest that he is far more superior than the parents he writes too.

    Helpful? 0 0
  55. Leo Nayflish

    Great insight into the developing brain

    This gives parents of toddlers and beyond a ton of insight into understanding why kids throw tantrums or act out and how to handle these situations with grace. I’ve definitely found myself less likely to flip my own lid and instead react with a sense of calm when I understand what’s going on in my son’s rather immature brain. Thanks for all the great tips and it was a relatively quick read!

    Helpful? 0 0
  56. Nayleeb

    Lots to be discovered

    Am finding this more difficult to comprehend than I expected.
    Am not very far along in this book. Hopefully concepts will clear up as I read.

    Helpful? 0 0
  57. semiha


    liked it very much. even though it is written in the form of child psychology for dummies it is pretty helpful. I started to read it since I am a teacher but I found my past experiences while reading it. Good job.

    Helpful? 0 0
  58. inlori Customer

    This was recommended by the counselor our child sees

    This was recommended by the counselor our child sees. I’m not a fluff reader, so honestly I skimmed quite a bit. I want practical application. I used the wheel of awareness with my child, and it did give her a concrete way to understand what I was trying to convey about choosing how to think. It has drawings of different situations with good response vs bad response that were helpful. Overall, I will recycle after my spouse is done with it because we’ve written in it, but it doesn’t rate a reread.

    Helpful? 0 0
  59. inlori Customer

    First impression

    Haven’t read the book yet, but just throwing this out there… The very first thing I noticed was the cover has a terrible texture. If you don’t mind sandpaper then ignore this, but if you’re like me and you cringe or get nauseous at rough textures like sandpaper then be advised. It’s not necessarily that rough, but it was shocking when I pulled it out the box. I haven’t touched it to read it yet. I recommend buying a clear cover or something to hold and protect it. Other than that I am still excited to read it.

    Helpful? 0 0
  60. Jinpu

    I liked this book and appreciated the clear explanations of some ...

    I liked this book and appreciated the clear explanations of some brain science concepts.
    This little parenting book is basically about how to teach children emotional intelligence–how to get them to recognize their own emotions, that emotions are temporary, and how to develop sympathy, among other things. Using this book’s method, it’s better to first acknowledge the child’s emotion, like saying “you look sad! Is it because Cariton won’t share that toy with you?” to get them talking about why they feel the way they do, and to acknowledge their current emotional state, and then redirect their attention to something not-sad.
    In addition, the “internal remote” concept (helping your kids narrate painful events with pauses, fast-forwards, and rewinds) is very useful, too. The book gave me some more ideas for helping the kids talk about their experiences (upsetting or pleasant), so that They could understand the cause and effect of the events and would not leave trauma for the later development. Throughout expressing their feelings and thoughts social interaction skills could improve as well.

    Helpful? 0 0
  61. Kimberly Allen

    very helpful understanding into the mind of a child

    Overall, this book gave new insight to how the brain works. Author’s Siegel and Bryson explained the concepts of the left and right brain vs. the upstairs and downstairs brain. This explanation helped to understand how to incorporate all the pieces of the brain to work together and help children make sense of their world. The importance of these different parts of the brain incorporate different ways of thinking and connecting perceptions to get through daily situations and circumstances. The key audience is parents and children who can put these practices into daily life experiences. Practical situations are explained and children are able to use their cognitive thinking and problem solving to understand and think about their life experiences. This book enhances life skills and teaches children to alter the way they put meaning to everything they encounter. Parents encourage a new thought process. Tantrums are also explained and help both caregivers and educators to step back and really see what a child may be going through during these emotional times.

    Helpful? 0 0
  62. inlori Customer

    Good Book For Early Parents

    Overall, this was a good book for parents looking to help their child’s cognitive development. One great point of the book is when the authors talk about the “upstairs” and “downstairs” brain, and the jobs they do, and the effects they can have on child behavior. There is a lot of information in this section that I found related to the work of B.F. Skinner. If anyone else studies or is familiar with his work on reinforcement, you will surely see the relevance of this book. The authors do a good job of keeping terms and imagery related to the brain, while also soundly detailing cognitive issues and even making suggestions. What is also nice is that you do not have to be well versed in neurochemistry or behavior analysis to understand. Another thing they do well is make suggestions in simple ways, on how you as a parent can help your child integrate their brain, which helps overall functioning. Though some of these strategies may be difficult to begin using regularly, the authors make it rather simple to follow the logic behind their recommendations, and provide understandable suggestions of how you can implement them yourself. In all, I would recommend this book to parents that are expecting, parents concerned with their child’s cognitive development, or parents with toddlers and elementary school children.

    Helpful? 0 0
  63. Robin McNeal

    I recommend reading this book first and foremost if you are ...

    I read The Whole-Brain Child as assigned reading for a graduate program of Applied Developmental Psychology. This book provides a thorough, easy-to-understand explanation on the various parts and functions of the brain, and how that information can help parents understand their children. Children’s behaviors can be traced back to brain functioning, and understanding which part of the brain is activated can help parents know what plan of action to use with their children (for example, if their child is having a temper tantrum). I appreciated how this book provides very specific examples and sample conversations parents can use with their children. I recommend reading this book first and foremost if you are a parent, but the information will benefit anyone, as it will bring a holistic understanding of people’s behavior.

    Helpful? 0 0
  64. Tyler J M

    Unbelievable read! So much to learn as a parent!

    This book is amazing! It has allowed me to explore and parent my child in ways that were unimaginable. From simple things to complex things, it has taught me and my wife how to approach situations to achieve a much more positive end results 10x faster.

    Ive always thought of myself as a “know it all” parent (I really dont its just how I was raised and how my family was raised) were hard working people and rarely accept anything for free or without payback. Anyways, with that being said, my wife and I are excellent parents, not only because were big headed, but because we hear it all the time. We live it through the behavior and the respect our children have. However, nobody is perfect and until I read this book and explored the brain like never before, even though my children are amazing, I was lacking in the actual consciousness of my parental decisions from a whole brain perspective. Usually you tend to tell children what is your word and say no matter what you respect it, but this book takes a different approach. Now it doesnt make you a weaker parent and doesnt take away the fact that you indeed are the parent and you demand respect, it just takes different approaches on how to transcend that to your child in a way that allows them to be nurtured from a brain perspective rather than drilling them saying BECAUSE I SAID SO!

    Children are very logical yet cannot think and understand your logic. It sounds funny but when your child ask you why the grass is green and you say because it is, and they keep asking why? What makes it green? Why doesnt it keep growing to the sky? Why do you have to cut it? These are all LOGICAL questions because they are quite inquisitive. However, trying to explain to your little one why they cant have something at that specific time (maybe a juice or some milk because they have to wait until dinner) just simply will not do the trick. They dont fully understand the explanation and their brain is connecting the dots because they are flooding with emotion. The book does explore a lot that I was hooked after the first page! GIVE IT A READ! BE OPEN MINDED! HAVE FUN! ENJOY YOUR CHILDREN! NURTURE THEM! THEY ARE OUR FUTURE!

    Helpful? 0 0
  65. Steven

    This book is like most other parenting books

    This book is like most other parenting books: a pot of good information and a lot of it should be common sense. That being said, books like these are helpful because they provide techniques that keep you from feeling stuck or helpless with your child. I liked how this particular book didn’t advocate certain methods as key (I.e. timeouts always or never), rather it explained the “what and why” behind the behaviors and gave potential modification strategies and tips. Ultimately, those are what help. It did feel like there was quite a bit of repeat in some of the sections, and how are you supposed to remember 12 strategies in the midst of a tantrum? But that is the same with any self help book. Bottom line? Very helpful acronyms and strategies that we have been using with ourselves and our 4- and 2-year-olds.

    Helpful? 0 0
  66. amypants11

    good parenting advice

    I thought that this book was very helpful in giving basic, good parenting advice.
    The explanation of the different parts of the brain at work was useful in understanding the “why’s” of certain behaviors you may see in your child. After explaining the ways the brain effect behavior, the authors give simple (illustrated) examples of how a parent my handle a particular situation. Each chapter gave a real life anecdote to demonstrate the strategy being taught.

    I found the examples in every chapter to be easy to understand and simple to put into place in my own home. In addition, the ways given to explain to your child how they may take charge and understand themselves are valuable tools that I can see a child using throughout his/her lifetime.

    The visual models of “mind sight” and “wheel of awareness” are excellent ways to show a child how to examine their thoughts/feelings and teach them to shift their mind to a more productive/ helpful state.

    Helpful? 0 0
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