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For a mind open to new experiences

Dr Daniel J Siegel and Dr Tina Payne Bryson’s book, The Yes Brain Child, teach parents how to inculcate in their children a state of mind that makes them curious and open to new experiences and opportunities.

health Updated: Feb 17, 2018 10:39 IST
Anonna Dutt
Anonna Dutt
Hindustan Times
children,books for parents,parenting
With the ‘yes’ brain, the child is likely to think – ‘I’m nervous about the camping trip, but I’m willing to give it a try’ or ‘My drawing doesn’t look like a dog at all. Oh well, I’ll try again’.(Shutterstock)

Wouldn’t you want your children to grow up to be people who embrace challenges and do not have a meltdown when things don’t go their way? Wouldn’t you want them to care for others but at the same time know when to stand up for themselves?

These are the questions that authors, Dr Daniel J Siegel and Dr Tina Payne Bryson, a clinical psychiatrist at UCLA and a psychotherapist respectively, answer in their book, The Yes Brain Child, and teach you how to develop the ‘yes’ brain in your children.

What is a ‘yes’ brain?

To understand it yourself, the authors ask you to do a simple exercise – close your eyes and pay attention to your emotional responses to someone saying ‘no’ harshly over and over again and notice the difference when the same person says ‘yes’ gently.

The illustrations in the book show the readers what the ‘yes’ brain means in real life.

The ‘no’ shuts people down, makes them defensive, upset and tense. The ‘yes’ makes them feel open, calm and relaxed.

This is the difference between the ‘yes’ and the ‘no’ brain. Children with a ‘yes’ brain embrace the world; their minds are curious and open to new experiences and opportunities and they see these simply as challenges that have to be faced and learned from rather than paralysing impediments. The ‘yes’ brain is more flexible, open to compromise, more willing to take chances and explore.

The illustrations in the book show the readers what the ‘yes’ brain means in real life. With the ‘yes’ brain, the child is likely to think – ‘I’m nervous about the camping trip, but I’m willing to give it a try’ or ‘My drawing doesn’t look like a dog at all. Oh well, I’ll try again’.

The authors make it very clear, however, that ‘yes’ brain is not about being permissive, giving in to your child’s demand, or protecting them from disappointment. Neither is it about creating a compliant child who “robotically minds his parents without thinking for himself”.

And, it does not take long lectures or deep conversations, say the authors, to develop this attitude in your children. Just the everyday interactions are enough to teach them. The book will tell you when your child needs a gentle push to get out of the comfort zone and when they need the cushion of familiarity. It will provide you strategies to teach your child to move away from negative emotions like aggression and react positively.

The book gives parents ideas and skills to develop the state of ‘yes’ brain in their kids and activities for children of all ages to develop the same.

Book Details: The Yes Brain Child

Authors: Dr Daniel J Siegel and Dr Tina Payne Bryson

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Price: Rs 1,093 (paperback), Rs 290 (e-book)

First Published: Feb 10, 2018 19:33 IST