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The Whole Brain Child

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Not Raising Jerks

Author: Dan Siegle
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Length: 6 h 16 m
Genre: Parenting
Published: 2005
Reviewer: Anonymous

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This is a must read/listen to for any parent or caretaker, in my opinion. I really liked the short-lived show on Amazon called, Transparent. It is about a “modern” liberal West Coast wealthy family getting on in life, at one point the doofy eldest daughter has an idea to write a book about raising kids and a philosophy she calls, “Kids on Top”. Its hilarious, trust me. This book is not far off from that concept, parents have spent way too much time looking down on their kids and not getting down to their level. It is at best an unfortunate case that all people need to start life as tiny and helpless. Just imagine how it feels to know nothing except helplessness, it must be hard. 

Putting yourself in the shoes of your kids is a lot of what this book is about. They use phrases like, “get down on their level”, “ask, don’t tell” and, well you get the idea right? Kids on top.

It all sounds great but I will give one specific example for why I don’t think it works

How to deal with a tantrum.


Step 1. Find out what is going on. Ask them how they are feeling or what happened to them.

Step 2. Listen to them. Why are the upset, what are they trying to say? 

Step 3. Get on their level. Try and feel what they are feeling. If they are angry, tell them how you can get angry too and you know just how it feels. 

Step 4. Distract them. Once you have their attention and are on their level, get them to move to something else nearby.

Step 5. Revisit the situation. After everyone is calmed down, up to a few days later, bring up the problem and talk through what happened, why and what we could do better next time.


Lets try it out at home.


One night, we find the boy (four) having a fit about a toy his sister is playing with. 

Step 1, find out what happened. He is being a jerk to his sister because he wants the toy, ok, step 2.

Step 2, listen. “Son, why are you upset what do you need?”. Son, “She has my TOYY! I WANT IT!!!!” So far so good

Step 3, get on his level. So kneeling down I say, “[boy] I know. I know just what you mean. I want stuff a lot of the time that I can’t have and it stinks, I know just how you feel and I love you.”, him, “AAAAAAAhhhhggggg!” and runs away screaming after knocking over a potted plant on his way out of the room screaming, "Go Away Forever!" 


This was still a great book, a great perspective and the authors do an amazing job, it just didn’t work as advertised for me.

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