Top critical review
This is Snake Oil
Reviewed in the United States on July 2, 2018
This book is part of the "Brain Balance" predatory pop neuroscience being marketed to overwhelmed parents of challenging children. It was recommended by a child behavioral psychologist who told me she recommends it to all parents, and I'm disappointed that she thinks this book could ever be helpful. I hoped that, after the introduction, there would be practical advice that worked, even if the fake science used to describe it was bunk. Unfortunately not the case. If you wade through the (uncited) fake science, the unprofessional, awkward cartoon illustrations, and the little vignettes of parenting challenges (which are described but unsresolved), you get . . . nothing. This is a slick package without a product inside.
I'm also a desperate parent, looking for a lifeline. There's no lifeline here; just lies: page after page of line drawings showing hands and houses to illustrate the crock ideas of "upstairs and downstairs brains" and "left brains and right brains." It's fine to discuss and classify human behaviors and interests using the left/right concept as a metaphor, but don't sell us a miracle cure for a problem that isn't real. Brain "de-integration" is not the cause of challenging childhood behaviors, and while it's nice to think that we could buy a book that fixes our children's brains, it's not that easy.
You want the entirety of the book's advice?
-When your kid is on the verge of a tantrum, don't try to shut them down with a rational explanation of why they shouldn't be throwing a tantrum. Let them have their feelings, and work from there
That's it. The entire book. More helpful books that start with that tidbit and give evidence-based advice are Ross Greene's "The Explosive Child," Jim and Charles Fay's "Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood," and Alan E. Kazdin's "The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child." None of which have worked a miracle in my child's behavior, but they have each, in their own way, helped me to adjust my parenting and lower my stress level as we progress through our new normal. "The Whole-Brain Child" is marketed to the same audience, but has nothing to offer.