Resource Spotlight: Book Review – “Parenting From the Inside Out”

Resource Spotlight
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a ministry of America World Adoption
 “….a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”Ecclesiastes 4:12

Book Review & Recommendation:  
“Parenting From The Inside Out” by Dan Siegel & Mary Hartzell

We would like to take this opportunity to recommend the book by Dr. Dan Siegel and Mary Hartzell called Parenting From The Inside Out:  How A Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive.  You can find more information about this book HERE, and this is a summary from that website:

How many parents have found themselves thinking: I can’t believe I just said to my child the very thing my parents used to say to me! Am I just destined to repeat the mistakes of my parents? In Parenting from the Inside Out, child psychiatrist Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., and early childhood expert Mary Hartzell, M.Ed., explore the extent to which our childhood experiences actually do shape the way we parent. Drawing upon stunning new findings in neurobiology and attachment research, they explain how interpersonal relationships directly impact the development of the brain, and offer parents a step-by-step approach to forming a deeper understanding of their own life stories, which will help them raise compassionate and resilient children.

I was recently blessed with some “alone-time” in the car to listen to this book.  I think I am grateful to have been able to listen to the book as opposed to reading it, because the audio version is read by the authors, and hearing their personal voices and stories added to the experience.  Also, I found the content to be very academic and deep and might have been tempted to put down a “paper” book in favor of doing something easier, so it was good that I was “trapped in the car” with it.  That said, I believe it is a very valuable book with fantastic insights into our actions and skills as parents.  

The chapters take us on a journey, starting with how we remember our childhood interactions, and then delves deeper into how we perceive reality, feel, and communicate.  Concrete examples are given as the authors help us understand these things as children and as parents.  As the chapters continue, the focus shifts to how we attach and make sense of our lives and history.  I think this portion was my favorite because it provided excellent information which is so helpful for those who are parenting children from hard places.  The remaining chapters focus on how we function in relationships today, and how we can continue to improve our awareness and skills.  Another valuable part of the book is a list of questions given at the end of each chapter as self-reflection “homework” that encourages us to really think through and implement what was learned.

Whether you are an adoptive parent or not, and whether you had a difficult childhood or not, this book is worth looking into.  Just be prepared for the fact that it is pretty deep and filled with complicated concepts.  If you are distractible like me, you might find it helpful to do the audio version, or perhaps as part of a group with accountability and discussion.  Also, plan to take your time with it, because there is a lot of information to absorb, and if you rush through it, the full benefit may escape you.

Bottom line:  This is a great book that will help you grow into a wiser and better parent, which is always a worthy endeavor!  Good luck!


Amber Lewis, America World AdoptionThis article was written by Amber Lewis, a Licensed Professional Counselor with a master’s degree in counseling psychology. Ambe is also a trained as a TBRI© practitioner. She currently serves as a Clinical Supervisor with America World Adoption and has over 12 years of experience in international adoption, including being an adoptive mother herself. She is especially interested in helping families and their children work through grief and identity issues as well as teaching parents skills in connecting with, correcting, and empowering their children.

ACT (Adoption Coaching and Training) is a ministry of America World Adoption designed to support families through training, support groups, and individualized coaching.  Explore ACT services on our website here, and reach out to us today for a free consultation to make a plan to meet your needs.


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