Now that Benedict is nearing his fifth birthday, Alison thought that it would be a good idea for us to read some parenting books. She wanted us to learn some strategies for helping our kids, as the authors of this book put it, survive and thrive.
Generally speaking, I don’t have a great track record of reading books that people give to me. While the intention is good, when someone else gives you a book, it brings some strings with it. I feel a sense of obligation when approaching the book, and also a need to move it higher in my reading queue. This is bad because then, as I read it, it feels forced. Although this book does fall into that category, namely it was selected for me by someone else, I found it to be wonderful.
Drs. Siegel and Bryson do an excellent job of taking the complex fields of psychiatry, neuroplasticity, and parenting and bring them together in an easy to digest way. What’s better is that they give a short, approachable lesson on a subject and the immediately present one or two ways to implement it in my parenting, right now. Their examples are illuminating, engaging, and realistic.
As I read through the book, managing to read the entirety in one day, I clearly saw the principles and theories that they laid out at play, especially in Benedict, but to a lesser degree in Felicity as she has come into her own.
I have not read very many parenting books, but my overall impression that they can be aloof, shoot the moon, and not broadly applicable. Not only does that impression prove false in this book, there is a clear progression in how I can use these techniques today, when Benedict is in elementary school, middle school, high school, and beyond.
Even better, the authors took the time to create a section at the end of each chapter to adapt the principles to the life of the parent. So not only do I understand how to work through a tantrum with my kids, but I understand how the same mechanics are at play when I feel angry and out of control.
Neuroscience is complex and profoundly interesting. Siegel and Bryson took their years of clinical and scientific research and applied in a way that any family could benefit from.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★