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  • Parenting from the Inside Out-Book Review

    Book review/resource for parenting:
    Parenting from the Inside Out-How A Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive. By Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Mary Hartzel

    Parenting from the inside out is a great book I often recommend for parents when I hear these common reactions from parents;

    Why do I get so mad when my kid ignores me, or tell me no?

    Why don’t my children want me to put them to sleep at night?

    Why do I cry or feel puzzled when my child doesn’t have any motivation?

    No, the book is not magical it will not give you the answers to these questions. It will, however, provide you the possible guidance to come up with your answers that may be stored deep inside you already.

    Explore your past, yes you had a past before you had children. Then see if you can connect how your past may be currently affecting your parenting. Dr. Siegel and Hartzell use mindfulness, for many parent’s mindfulness may be thinking about things you have not had the mental space to reflect on in some. Once you have spent some time reflecting on those memories you can now be mindful of; how experiences as early as your childhood or as resent as finding out you would be a parent could be rearing up and affect the way you are parenting. We can be honest parenting can be a demanding job of remembering and juggling the current lists of needs for yourself and your children let alone remembering what your own needs were when you were the same age as your children. This is not always an easy task which is why this book is a great resource for promoting the brain to recall some things that may be buried under the sleepless nights and the never-ending to-do list.

    The book includes guiding you through sourcing out how your reaction such as anger or intolerance; developed from the past event memory. I might consider linkage as is magic or the AH HA moment; linkage from the past to the current is simply written but not always simple to discover. My initial reaction when first reading this book sounded something like; I mean how can something from so long ago still is affecting me? How can it be affecting the way I parent even though I know I do not want to parent that way? Well, stress, responsibility, sleep deprivation (research wasn’t joking sleep is important) etc. can get in the way of our awareness in the connection/linkage.

    My personal Disclaimer: This book is written by a clinical professor of psychiatry, so he can write in a scholarly tone which does have a dry sense of humor that I can appreciate and honor. If you embark on this book and get stuck or seek clarification, I invite you to contact me.

    Parenting from the Inside Out is a parent’s internal journey guided by points of reference into inside mindsight of the past experiences leading to discovery (linkage) of awareness. It does not leave you in the past, it brings you out allowing for the integration of the new awareness/mindsight and provides tools to use the powerful mindfulness in your parenting.

    You may be wondering at this point why or how will mindfulness help my parenting. No Dr. Seagal will not teach you how to parent that’s in his other books. Seagal with bringing attention to you newly awakened memories (mindfulness) and the linkage (also termed integrations) help to you form stronger attachments hopefully with your children and empathy for self and others.

    Linkage examples from the book include, I cannot tolerate my child’s crying due to experiences causing young children to cry as a doctor can be an eye-opening linkage of a past event to present concerns. However; a colleague reminds me if this book begins to stir up emotional turmoil, please seek a therapist to discuss how the content of this book may be affecting you. Having a skilled person to process past events is a good practice as many of our trusted confidantes have a place in our past and may have a biased historical account. Accept this as an open invitation to contact me for further resources.
    REMEMBER: you always have a choice on how and what you can do with your information.

    I have added a YouTube video to give an audio-visual example of how parenting topics and personal pasts are linked (linkage) and how the book may help a parent around a chosen topic.

    -Kristina Boswell, Associate Marriage and Family Therapist

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