The Whole-Brain Child — Discussion Guides

By: - November 11, 2012

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The Whole Brain Child, by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., states in the subtitle that it offers twelve revolutionary strategies to nurture your child’s developing mind. This book wants to help parents understand that our children’s brains are still developing and that we can help our children learn how to handle the different experiences they encounter even as we learn how to better nurture their developing minds, too.

The message of The Whole-Brain Child is that our families aren’t stuck in our current circumstances.  Parents have the ability to change these circumstances by changing the way they respond and relate, and as they do so they can literally help to change their child’s brain (and their own) in the process.

Many of the adoptive and foster parents that we serve and train have found The Whole-Brain Child to be incredibly helpful and relevant.  As important, they have found that the insight this book offers and the strategies it suggests are wholly consistent with the parenting approach and strategies taught by Dr. Karyn Purvis, and highlighted on Empowered To Connect.

We want to help make the information in this book accessible to as many parents as possible, so we have provided below links to parent discussion guides by chapter as well as links to blog posts (written by Annie McClellan) detailing each of the 12 strategies in the book. We hope you are able to use this material to learn better how to parent your child with his or her brain in mind, and in the process improve your relationship with your child as you continue to faithfully walk this parenting journey.

Introduction: SURVIVE AND THRIVE and


Chapter 2: TWO BRAINS ARE BETTER THAN ONE: Integrating the Left and the Right

Whole-Brain Strategy #1: Connect and Redirect: Surfing Emotional Waves

Whole-Brain Strategy #2: Name It to Tame It: Telling Stories to Calm Big Emotions

Chapter 3: BUILDING THE STAIRCASE OF THE MIND: Integrating the Upstairs and the Downstairs Brain

Whole-Brain Strategy #3: Engage, Don’t Enrage: Appealing to the Upstairs Brain

Whole-Brain Strategy #4: Use It or Lose It: Exercising the Upstairs Brain

Whole-Brain Strategy #5: Move It or Lose It: Moving the Body to Avoid Losing the Mind

Chapter 4: KILL THE BUTTERFLIES!: Integrating Memory for Growth and Healing

Whole-Brain Strategy #6: Use the Remote of the Mind: Replaying Memories

Whole-Brain Strategy #7: Remember to Remember: Making Recollection a Part of Your Family’s Daily Life

Chapter 5: THE UNITED STATES OF ME: Integrating the Many Parts of the Self

Whole-Brain Strategy #8: Let the Clouds of Emotion Roll By: Teaching That Feelings Come and Go

Whole-Brain Strategy #9: SIFT: Paying Attention to What’s Going On Inside

Whole-Brain Strategy #10: Exercise Mindsight: Getting Back to the Hub

Chapter 6: THE ME-WE CONNECTION: Integrating Self and Other

Whole-Brain Strategy #11: Increase the Family Fun Factor: Making a Point to Enjoy Each Other

Whole-Brain Strategy #12: Connect Through Conflict: Teach Kids to Argue with a “We” in Mind

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