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The Whole Brain Child





Read this over the best course of a year or so. Everytime I picked it up I walked away feeling energised as a parent and ready to try out the new ideas. And when out into action I noticed it made a significant difference to the behaviour and wellbeing of my children. My next objective is to print the summary notes at the end of the book (and maybe even turn them into some sort of resource sheet...). Genuinely very well written and oozing with fantastic ideas. Here are the notes. ntro: Survive-->Thrive. Every crisis is an opportunity (do I have the stamina and patience to always see them as such?) Chapter 1: The 'Let's go get ice cream approach' "it leaves the child confused about what happened and why. He is still full of big and scary emotions, but he isn't allowed (or helped) to deal with them in an effective way". The focus is on the 'integration' of the different parts of the brain. Children need to grow up 'horizontally integrated' - so the left and right parts of the brain (the logic and emotional sides, respectively) work well together. They also need to be 'vertically integrated' so the higher-level thinking works with their base 'animal' instinct. The mind is plastic and moldable and changes shape throughout our lives, not just in childhood. We have over one hundred billion neurons in our brain - and each one has an average of 10,000 connections to other neurons. A pretty fearsome computer. Left/Right brain 'integration' is like canoeing down a river. In the middle it is calm, you are in control but can adapt easily to any changes. If you stray too close to the right bank you are caught up in confusing rip tides (emotions) but if you stray too fat to the left you become a control freak (logic) and wish to impose your will on everything and everyone around you. Chapter 2: Right brain controls emotion and left controls logic. People can retreat to the left when confronted by emotional scenarios that hurt. We want children (and adults) that are horizontally integrated, meaning they can control both left and right brain reactions. A child's rain develops the right side first and then when they start asking "why?" This is their left side beginning to come online and want to find order in the world. So the strategies that come from this: Connect and redirect. Connect (empathise and listen) to the right brain response before shifting the response to the left side once they have calmed down. Name it and tame it: retelling the story of traumatic and stressful experiences activates the left side, to sequence events, while allowing the right side to still fill in with emotional details. This is often best done some time after the event and while the child is engaged in another activity. Naming the emotions and sequencing events gives the left side more control over the right. Not understanding something is often the biggest fear, so by using logic we can wrap it around a framework of explanation and it loses that fear and trauma. This process can be deepened by having the child draw or write the story. Chapter 3 Downstairs brain controls basic anim