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Book Review: Parenting from the Inside Out

by Child Care

Quite many parents give positive feedback to Parenting from the Inside Out, a book by Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell. For your information, parenting happens on multiple levels. There are also many types of parenting styles, such as hand in hand parenting. However, most parenting books focus only on the surface, especially the ones for new parents. They guide parents to get done what needs to get done. For example, the books help parents figure out how much kids need to eat, the best way to make them to go to sleep, when to introduce solid foods to toddlers, and so on.

These parenting topics are surely what all new parents wonder about. However, parenting will likely fail if it stays at that level because kids are a complex tiny being. Besides physical well-being, parents should also focus on their kids’ mental well-being. Therefore, it is important for parents to go on deeper levels. Since parenting is hard, the Parenting from the Inside Out is there to help parents. For parents who want to know more about this recommended parenting book, here is the review.

About the Authors

Before we get to know about the book, it will be better if we get to know about the authors first. As it is said before, the authors of the parenting book are Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell. Besides being a pediatric psychiatrist, Daniel J. Siegel is also a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, co-director of the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Centre, as well as Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute.

He is also a researcher and bestselling author of books on child emotional development and parenting. So, it can be said that Daniel J. Siegel knows more than knows about parenting styles psychology. On the other hand, the late Mary Hartzell was a child development specialist as well as the director of First Presbyterian Nursery School in Santa Monica. She created a co parenting counseling with Dr. Daniel Siegel about parent child relationships.Parenting from the Inside Out

General Description About the Parenting from the Inside Out Book

When people become parents, they tend to bring their issues from their childhood in the past and it affects the way they raise their kids. Childhood experiences that are not completely processed may lead to leftover; unresolved problems that can affect how parents react to their kids. And these problems can easily get triggered in the parent-kid relationship. When this happens, parents’ responses toward their kids tend to be in the form of impulsive behaviors, strong emotional reactions, sensations in the body, or distortions in perceptions.

These intense conditions might disturb parents’ capability to stay flexible and have clear mind. And once again, they can affect parents’ relationship and interaction with their kids. Parenting from the Inside Out explores and discusses how childhood experiences can shape the way parents raise and parent their children. The parenting book shows and guides parents how to understand and integrate their childhood experiences into a nurturing parenting style that promotes trust, meaningful attachment, and also healthy communication, instead of authoritative parenting styles.

Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell as the authors bring their own professional, different experiences to this book in working with parents and children. By using child development research and interpersonal neurobiology, the authors help readers explore their own foundations, then use the self-understanding to form or create a mindful foundation for a secure and loving parent-children relationship. The goal of this book is to encourage parents to reflect on their own life experiences to get perspective and understanding that will be helpful for their kids.

Instead of certain tactics for parenting, this book covers more about general approaches. It is more about parents understanding their own stories, the way they attach or do not attach to their parents, and their experiences from childhood. It guides readers to use the understanding to build a secure, stable, and loving relationship with their kids. There are exercises at the end of every chapter, encouraging parents for journaling and self-reflection.

Each chapter of this book concludes with a spotlight on science that includes neuroscience research. Such research supports the recommendations found earlier in the chapter. Parenting from the Inside Out combines perspective of a psychiatrist and a nursery school teacher in order to help parents to gain better understanding why they act and react the way they do towards their kids. Unlike most parenting books, this book focuses more on parents instead of children.

It also includes guiding parents through sourcing out how their reaction, for instance, intolerance or anger is developed from childhood experiences. This parenting book covers various topics, including the importance of stories, adult attachment, communication, mindfulness for developing personal awareness, and fundamentals and patterns of childhood attachment. It also offers 5 anchor points for parenting, which are joyful living, mindsight, response flexibility, lifelong learning, and mindfulness.

You might also find about free range parenting in the book. Each chapter of the book ends with observations, inside-out journal exercises, and invitations to dig more deeply with the material in the chapter. There is also an extensive list of citations at the end of every chapter if readers want to continue their exploration of the topic discussed in the chapter. So far, this parenting book gains positive parenting solutions reviews.

Unique and Essential Aspects

Dr. Daniel J. Siegel tends to have common themes in his books, for example, the importance of mindfulness and attachment, including in this book. Readers might be surprised to find out how much the book talks about neuroscience research. For your information, 1/3 of this book discusses neurobiological findings. Parenting from the Inside Out was published for the very first time back in 2003. Then, it was republished with some newer neuroscience research performed before 2014.

The book covers most important aspects, including the importance of relationship repair, types of parent-child rupture and disconnection, higher and lower modes of information processing, and the practices of integrative communication. It also discusses how important it is to communicate to parents that no matter their childhood experiences, they will be able to improve their parenting and boost the development of their kids.

Based on the premise that many of parents’ reactions toward their kids are based on their own experience from their childhood, the authors try to help parents to figure out why they react to their children the way they do and how it is possible for them to change it. This parenting book offers a deep look about how the human brain works and relates it directly to parenting. Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell made an explanation in the book about how parents carry their emotional loads.

The authors also explain how a kid can trigger a response that is more important than the current situation itself. Both Siegel and Hartzell want to help parents find out what their load is and how to be able to separate it from their parent-child relationship. They also talk about several of the emotional building blocks that will form healthy kids. They go beyond attachment in order to determine why and how kids attach and how to help kids do that.

Daniel J. Spiegel and Mary Hartzell make these things extremely basic. Therefore, struggling parents will not get overwhelmed by their kids’ emotional needs.

Book Review Parenting from the Inside Out

Pros of the Parenting from the Inside Out Book

Below are the positive points of the parenting book by Daniel J. Spiegel and Mary Hartzell.

  • This parenting book is recommended for parents who want to dig more deeply and are interested to spare their time to do self-reflection required for deep personal growth.
  • Parents who are willing to spare time to practice the principles explained in this book and learn about themselves along the way will be able to build and improve relationships with their children more deeply, even when their kids are still very young.
  • For parents who already appreciate fostering healthy attachment, this book offers theory, not steps. It lets parents decide themselves how to help their kids to have good attachment, emphasizing the attachment as an emotional relationship between 2 individuals instead of a just systematic process.

Cons of the Parenting from the Inside Out Book

Just like other things, the pros of the parenting book come with the cons. Here they are.

  • Some emotional works necessary to figure out what is happening in the parent-child relationship may make some parents feel overwhelmed. On the other hand, other people are probably interested in using this parenting book in place of therapy, best parenting podcasts, or other help.
  • Most readers might find it difficult and technical to follow the sections on brain chemistry. While they can help parents to understand better about their own thought processes, they may just make other readers get frustrated, especially the ones who need answers right now.
  • As it is said before, this parenting book does not discuss the surface, like how to bathe or feed kids, or how to make them go to sleep. It does not provide step by step instructions.

Who Would Enjoy This Parenting Book?

Parenting from the Inside Out is a recommended book for those who need a parenting book that widely looks at attachment, mindfulness, and personal experience. Readers who are interested in neuroscience research findings would also enjoy this parenting book.

Why You Should Read Parenting from the Inside Out

In this book, both the authors want to help parents to understand how they remember, how they look at reality, how they communicate, how they feel, how they develop mindsight, how they attach, how to disconnect and reconnect, how to keep it together, how they fall apart, as well as how they make sense of our lives. As you can see, the authors want readers to be better parents by understanding and accepting their childhood experiences.

They want readers, as parents, to stop the cycle of bad parenting from their parents. The parenting book is a pretty reminder for parents to be more loving and compassionate towards their children, and equally important, with themselves. Because happy children start from happy parents. It reveals that it is never too late to heal old wounds from the past and re-parent ourselves, becoming better parents for our kids.

The book tells readers that it is important to take care of their unfinished business first before being able to be good parents. It is because when parents do not take responsibility for their unfinished business from the past, they will likely miss the chance to be better parents as well as further their own development. By reading this book, readers will not only be able to be better parents but also better individuals that can accept and heal from old wounds.

The parenting book is parents’ internal journey guided by points of reference into the inside mindsight of the experiences in the past leading to discovery of awareness. Instead of leaving you in the past, Parenting from the Inside Out brings you out, allowing for the integration of the new mindsight or awareness as well as providing tools to use the powerful mindfulness in raising our kids. Some readers will probably question how or why mindfulness can help their parenting.

Dr. Daniel J. Siegel will help you to shape stronger attachments hopefully with our kids and empathy for self and others with mindfulness. However, keep in mind that this book might make you feel hurt or overwhelmed since it makes you reminisce about your childhood experience. It might stir you up emotionally. So, there is nothing wrong if you want to seek help from a therapist or psychologist to find out how the content of this book may affect you.

Overall, Parenting from the Inside Out is a good book that can help and guide you to find yourself, resulting you to be better parents with better parenting. If you are interested in reading this book, it is available in bookstores both offline and online. Are you ready to be more loving parents for your children?

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