The Whole-Brain Child

On the advice of my foster care/adoption class facilitator, I'm currently reading, The Whole-Brain Child, and learning about how parents can help a child, especially those that have experienced trauma or neglect, connect the right side of their brain to the left, and the bottom half to the top.  They do mention that the latter can be especially challenging for kids in general because their frontal cortex' are not fully developed, so parents should try to maintain developmentally appropriate expectations.

The authors share some helpful catch phrases to remember concepts, like "name it (an emotion) to tame it," but there is a lot of scientific information to take in. I won't remember it all, but I can imagine referring back to the book as needed. They give a lot of examples, which help the ideas come to life. I have always intuitively felt the value of telling our life stories, but who knew it played such a powerful role in the brain?

I'll admit that while reading strategies and stories from the book, I've flashed back several times to my own childhood and how my father often handled emotionally fraught situations in the exact opposite way than what they recommend. He was, shall we say, empathically challenged. I wish he had - and was willing to follow - this book!

Luckily, our brains can generate these pathways of connection at any age and heal from negative experiences and trauma.  I've done a lot of healing in my life - interestingly, I can remember telling the story of the night my mom died many times in my life - and can see how further healing might happen as a parent when I handle emotional situations with my child in a more skillful way.

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