Good Inside: A Guide To Becoming The Parent You Want To Be
Author: Dr. Becky Kennedy
Year Published: 2022
Page Count: 298 – 8-9 hour read time
What It’s About:
“From reward charts to time-outs, many popular parenting approaches are based on shaping behavior, not raising humans. These techniques don’t build the skills kids need for life or account for their complex emotional needs. Add to that parents’ complicated relationships with their own upbringings, and it’s easy to see why so many caretakers feel lost, burned-out, and worried they’re failing their kids.
In Good Inside, Dr. Kennedy (aka Dr. Becky) shares her parenting philosophy as well as actionable strategies that can help parents move from uncertainty and self-blame to confidence and sturdy leadership. Offering perspective-shifting parenting principles and troubleshooting for specific scenarios, Good Inside is a comprehensive resource for a generation of parents looking for a new way to raise their kids. Setting them up for a lifetime of self-regulation, confidence, and resilience.”
The Take Aways:
After reading Good Inside you’ll come away with:
- The benefits of prioritizing relationship building over behavior control.
- How to apply the concept of multiplicity, or two things can be true. E.g. “I’m a good parent struggling with perimenopause.” vs. “I’m a bad parent.”
- The importance of modelling self-care.
- The power of asking one simple question: “What is my most generous interpretation of what just happened?”
“In their book The Whole-Brain Child, neuropsychiatrist Daniel Seigel and psychotherapist Tina Payne Bryson describe why children so often become dysregulated. They use the analogy of a two-story house: The downstairs brain is responsible for our most basic functions, like breathing, as well as our impulses and emotions.
The upstairs brain is responsible for more complex processes, like planning, decision making, self-awareness, and empathy. Here’s the kicker: The downstairs brain, marked by intense emotions and sensations, is fully built and functioning in young children. But the upstairs brain is under construction well in to a person’s twenties. Talk about lag time!
No wonder children often struggle with future planning, self-reflection, and empathy – these are all part of the upstairs brain. It’s important to remember: When kids are overwhelmed with emotion and unable to regulate and make good decisions, this is developmentally normal. Exhausting and totally inconvenient for parents, yes, but normal.”
This doesn’t mean we just let our kids ignore the opinions, rights, or feelings of others until they have officially developed their ‘upstairs brain’. Dr. Becky argues that their inability to self-regulate makes holding firm boundaries with our kids all the more important. It’s the way in which we implement and hold firm to those boundaries, while making room for being human, where the parenting magic happens.
Why you should read this book:
Why are we reviewing a parenting book on a site about perimenopause? Because we feel like our downstairs brains starting taking over again when perimenopause kicked in. Having more than one family member leading with intense emotions and sensations, can be very overwhelming. A recipe for chaos, in fact.
Good Inside prioritizes connecting over correcting behavior. And while it can take some getting used to, the impacts are powerful. The approaches in this book ask the parent to reflect on how their children’s behavior is impacting them and why. And that is where the power lies: asking why.
Often our children’s behavior is triggering something inside of us that does not feel good. And that feeling often has nothing to do with our children. And we tend to operate in extremes – jumping from thinking our children are bad, to we are bad parents, and back again. When we step back and allow for bad behavior from good people, we can become curious.
When you stop to remember that your teenager pulling away is developmentally appropriate, you are less likely to take it personally. If you can make it a practice not to respond in kind when your teen lashes out, you will be able to avoid a lot of unnecessary conflict. Taking a beat to think about why they might be lashing out. Thinking about what their behavior is triggering in you. Calmly addressing the behavior with them at a later time. And firmly setting boundaries to help them become the best versions of themselves. Powerful stuff. Not easy, but worth the effort.
We’re not going to pretend that things don’t get chaotic and very heated in our households. Puberty and perimenopause in the same house can be ridiculously hard. But we do contend that Dr. Becky’s parenting approach has meant that the connection now outweighs the conflict.
We think this is a good read for any parent, particularly those struggling with the hormonal chaos of perimenopause.
Buy it today: Good Inside