I’ve been so busy lately that most of the reading I do are things I spot on Pinterest. And I tend to pin more than I read. I’m not the only, right?
That left me with the questions of what in the world should I review for our very first book review?
How about the book I’ve been telling everyone about that’s inspired crazy thoughts about doing a PhD? Yeah, it’s that good. And no, I’m not going to start a PhD. Well, not right now anyway. Moving on…
Can parenting help build better brains?
The Science of Parenting (second edition) by Margot Sunderland has been my favourite book for the last couple of months. Oh, this confused me so let me warn you. The book is also known as What Every Parent Needs to know.
It’s not your run of the mill parenting book. It has some suggestions for some common parenting challenges, but it is so much more than strategies.
It’s about understanding. Understanding your infant, understanding your toddler, and understanding how you fit in with the creation of the world’s future adults. That might sound like a strong statement, but pick up the book for yourself, and you’ll see I’m not exaggerating. Incredibly excited, yes. But not exaggerating. Well, I don’t think I am.
As most of the books we will be reviewing here on My Joyful Parenting, The Science of Parenting is a non-fiction book and it’s about, well, parenting. One of the things that makes this book so different from others is that it’s about the neurobiology of parenting. Simply put, it helps us understand brain development in our tiny humans from birth onwards, and how parenting helps shape the development of the brain
I’m not ashamed to admit it; I’m a neuropsychology geek. When I was doing my undergraduate psychology degree, I wanted to become a neuropsychologist. I changed my mind when I found out just how long that would take. A researcher, and then a mental health clinician, was more up my street.
Neurobiology research tells us yes, the way we parent can help our children’s future well-being and increase their chances of maintaining positive mental health.
I’ve learned a lot about the brain over the years, but I still managed to gain loads from this book. This book explained things I already know and so much more.
What blew me away was that it was easy to understand and worded in such a way that made sense. I love how it describes the groupings of parts of the brain into different systems. When you think about your child’s behaviour in terms of the alarm system (rage, fear, panic/grief), and the three calm and well-being systems (care, seeking and play), it helps put things into perspective and clarify what sort of parenting strategies you’re going to use.
The Science of Parenting covers how the brain develops and ways to parent so that children grow the best brains they possibly can. It also explains common aspects of raising children, like sleep, behaviour that challenge us, discipline, and how to build a positive relationship with your child. It also covers looking after yourself.
It’s not just information about brains, and so on, it also has suggestions and strategies. All of these things help you raise happy, healthy, successful and well-balanced adults.
Another thing I love about this book is that it is full of beautiful illustrations, case studies, and little quotes that explain certain essential aspects discussed. You can put it down and pick it up without getting lost. I don’t know about you, but that’s an important factor for me. With two children, home education, my CalmFamily work, my writing, and a million other projects I’m working on, I need to be able to dip in and out of a book and not get so confused when I pick it up that I either a) read it over again from the start or b) abandon it.
I don’t know what else to say but read it. It’s not just for those ‘gentle parents’ or those that practice ‘attachment parenting’. It’s a book for every parent who wants to understand their baby, toddler and child better, and respond to them in such a way that increases the chances that they’ll become the fantastic adults we dream our children to be.
If that’s you, then what are you waiting for? Read it! Then let me know your thoughts! What did you like or dislike? Has it made you change any of your parenting behaviours?
Leave us a comment below. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!