Psychotherapy and Parenting

Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., and Mary Hartzell, M.Ed

This book is a great resource for those planning to have children and for those who are already parents. The authors explain how making sense of your childhood experiences has a profound effect on how you parent your own children.  The top priority is nurturing healthy attachment between parents and children. This book blends the clinical experience of a child psychiatrist with the rich wisdom of a nursery school teacher. Daniel Siegel has also written “The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are.” Mary Hartzell has also written, “Communicating with Your Child: Building self-esteem and Avoiding Power Struggles.” The authors base their concepts on new findings in neurobiology and attachment research. They explain how interpersonal relationships directly affect the development of the brain. On page 32, Dr. Siegel states  “the immaturity of the infant’s brain means that experiences will play a significant role in determining the unique features of emerging brain connections. Experience shapes even the very brain structures that will allow the perception of those experiences to be sensed and remembered.”

As a result of reading this book, parents who had difficult childhoods will understand and connect with themselves in a way which will significantly improve their connection with their children.

Included throughout the book are exercises to increase both insight and skills, such as questions for parental self-reflection. There are also various tables providing helpful information of both scientific and relational nature. The authors identify attunement, balance, and coherence as the relational skills parents need to nurture the development of healthy attachment. Attunement is described as aligning your own internal state with those of your children. This is often accomplished by the contingent sharing of nonverbal signals. The authors state that children attain a balance of their body, emotions, and states of mind through attunement with parents. Coherence is the sense of integration that is acquired by children through relationships with their parents in which the kids are able to come to feel both internally integrated and interpersonally connected to others.

Reading this book will open parent’s minds to new possibilities that will strengthen their relationships with their children as they continue growing individually and as families.

Talk to a Psychotherapist Today

If you find yourself struggling to find positive ways to connect with your children, the relationship advice and research within this book can help immensely. If you’re in need of a psychotherapist to help with this aspect of raising your children, don’t hesitate to call. Our psychotherapy can help you develop an understanding of yourself so you can be the best possible parent for your children. Call today.