Brain-Based Parenting

Brain-Based-Parenting-Baylin-Jonathan-9780393707281Brain-Based Parenting:
The Neuroscience of Caregiving for Healthy Attachment (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology)
by Daniel A. Hughes
ISBN: 978-0393707281

This book will help parents to manage their stress levels and creatively overcome many of the common dilemmas of parenting.

This is a clearly written book on how to stay open, responsive, and flexible in parenting and how to avoid or repair parenting mistakes when they occur, informed by remarkable scientific progress in the field of “interpersonal neurobiology” – how our relationships are shaped by our brain’s wiring, and how our brain functioning is altered by relationships.

What parts of the brain are involved in parenting? What happens when, due to anxiety, frustration, or stress, those parts of the brain shut down and the “defensive-protective” parts of the brain take over? What role do oxytocin, dopamine, and stress hormones play in shaping outcomes of parenting episodes?

The authors have identified 5 brain systems active in healthy parenting (Approach, Reward, Child-reading, Meaning-making, and Executive systems), as well as describing other brain regions activated in thwarted or “blocked” parenting, and a model for keeping the healthy, attentive, responsive, joyful systems active and open for business. The acronym for their model is “PACE” for Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity, and Empathy.

There are many interesting insights, including the thesis that proper discipline isn’t really responsible for well-behaved children, but rather that the maintenance of an active, empathic, attuned, intersubjective connection between child and parent is what truly regulates the child into positive behaviors, as a result of the child’s efforts to maintain that secure, vital connection with the attuned parent. Even apart from the interesting (and painless) neuroscience, this manual is a surprisingly practical resource for how to stay on your parenting game and avoid “going limbic” when stressed or frustrated.


GSD, M.D. is a medical doctor and psychiatrist, specializing in the psychology of resilience, personal courage, and renewal.

Posted in Child Maintenance
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