There is a screening tool used by professionals to gauge the interaction between a parent and their child. It is called the Brigance Parent Child Interaction Scale. I found it really interesting to read through it and mentally mark my interactions with my kids when they were young. I don't know how to score it and I can't post it because it is owned by someone and it costs mega$$ to use. Which is probably why it isn't include in parenting books!
The diagram below is one I developed for a conference I went to with my BossLady & associate a couple of years ago. I took a chart that Dr. Bruce D. Perry created for an article on the sequential development of the brain and what the areas regulate. The two numbered items that are linked to areas are the statements from the BPCIS. I did have five initially but it became really crowded for a PowerPoint presentation.
This shows what areas of the brain are being affected when you, say, read a book or play with your child. The brain develops from the brainstem upwards and from the inside out. Our brains were undeveloped when we were born although the physical mass was all there (oh so many quips in a so inappropriate time) but the neurons and their connections is what is undeveloped and with experiences our brain, well, comes alive! The more positive experiences, the more connections being made. The vast majority of connections are created in the first few years before it slows down.
If you are interested, Trauma Academy's website is an absolute minefield of information about development and trauma. Dr. Perry is a child psychiatrist who assisted with the children from the Waco, TX incident, Oklahoma City, Columbine, September 11, Haiti and apparently is a Senior Consultant with the Alberta Mental Health Board. The man is no slouch! Every time I find out he's coming to Alberta his visit is cancelled or there is no response from the sponsoring organization. I do so want to hear him talk...nice to meet him too! He wrote "The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog". (That story is sad but it wasn't a situation done with malicious intent). His newest book is "Born For Love: Why Empathy Is Essential and Endangered" http://childtrauma.org