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Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive

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


Multigenerational trauma, also known as transgenerational or intergenerational trauma, is the concept that trauma can be passed down from one generation to the next. This form of trauma is evidenced through communication, parenting style, parenting warmth, attachment, conflict patterns, and more. While we might think of trauma as the type of events that make headlines, in reality, we all experience some sort of trauma in our lives, sometimes just from the parenting style that we experienced as children. In Parenting from the Inside Out, Dr. Siegel and Dr. Harzell combine attachment research and neurobiology to address how our past experiences shape our parenting. The book also offers concrete methods to begin the healing process, opening a path to more attuned parenting.


TRIGGER WARNING: The book contains anecdotes involving survivors of child abuse, sexual abuse, and combat. 



Multigenerational trauma: “Our childhood experiences may have involved trauma and loss in some form. Resolution of trauma and loss requires an understanding of the low road and its connections to patterns of experiences from the past. The passing of unresolved issues from generation to generation produces and perpetuates unnecessary emotional suffering. If our own issues remain unresolved, there is a strong possibility that the disorganization within our minds can create disorganization in our children’s minds. It is important to recognize that each of us may have leftover issues that create vulnerabilities that don’t become apparent until we raise or work with children.”


The importance of repair in our relationships with our children: “Sometimes relationships with children become filled with tension. Parents don’t always like their children, or feel positively toward them, especially when their children are acting in ways that make the parents’ life more difficult. Being compassionate toward your own emotional experience enables you to accept these challenging altercations with your children with less distress and self-recrimination. Sometimes, a parent’s sense of guilt at her own anger toward her child can prevent her from being aware of, or even caring about, a ruptured connection. Unfortunately, this guilt can block the initiation of repair and deepen the distance between parent and child. Having self-understanding about these processes can open the important door to reconnection.” 


Compassion & self-compassion: “We just like our children, are doing the best we can at that point in time and like them we are learning more respectful ways to communicate.”

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