Dr. Dan Siegel’s “The Whole Brain Child”

“Your toddler throws a tantrum in the middle of a store. Your preschooler refuses to get dressed. Your fifth-grader sulks on the bench instead of playing on the field. Do children conspire to make their parents’ lives endlessly challenging? No—it’s just their developing brain calling the shots!”

I was lucky enough to attend the lecture, “The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind”, by Dr. Dan Siegel last night.

Dr. Siegel is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine where he is on the faculty of the Center for Culture, Brain, and Development and the Co-Director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center as well as author of numerous books on the subject of neurobiology.

His approach to the topic was engaging, humourous, and informative, and I learned just enough about how children’s’ brains develop, and how to use this knowledge in my parenting to make me want to know more.

Here are a few helpful insights from his book, “The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, Survive Everyday Parenting Struggles, and Help Your Family Thrive”:


  • Name It to Tame It: Corral raging right-brain behavior through left-brain storytelling, appealing to the left brain’s affinity for words and reasoning to calm emotional storms and bodily tension
  • Engage, Don’t Enrage: Keep your child thinking and listening, instead of purely reacting.
  • Move It or Lose It: Use physical activities to shift your child’s emotional state.
  • Let the Clouds of Emotion Roll By: Guide your children when they are stuck on a negative emotion, and help them understand that feelings come and go.
  • SIFT: Help children pay attention to the Sensations, Images, Feelings, and Thoughts within them so that they can make better decisions and be more flexible.
  • Connect Through Conflict: Use discord to encourage empathy and greater social success.

Read more on his book here…

Dr Siegel’s lecture was hosted by Austin IN Connection.


-Jennifer Rustgi, Kid Culture Austin


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One Comment on “Dr. Dan Siegel’s “The Whole Brain Child””

  1. February 11, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    Great post! I wanted to share with you our work to discourage spanking by teaching parents the neurological implications of hitting. We use Dr. Siegel’s work all the time! He is wonderful. Check out our site.

    We are trying to get the word out there. Here are a few sample posts:
    What Researchers Say: http://stopspanking.org/2012/12/05/what-researchers-say-about-spanking/

    Other posts on spanking and the brain

    Please like us on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/protectchildrenfromviolence?ref=hl

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