Book Review: The Yes Brain: How to Cultivate Courage, Curiosity, and Resilience in Your Child

Authors: Daniel J. Siegel  and‎ Tina Payne Bryson

Book Review-The Yes Brain: How to Cultivate Courage, Curiosity, and Resilience in Your Child -

Book Description:

When facing challenges, unpleasant tasks, and contentious issues such as homework, screen time, food choices, and bedtime, children often act out or shut down, responding with reactivity instead of receptivity. This is what New York Times bestselling authors Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson call a No Brain response. But our kids can be taught to approach life with openness and curiosity. Parents can foster their children’s ability to say yes to the world and welcome all that life has to offer, even during difficult times. This is what it means to cultivate a Yes Brain.

About the Authors:

Daniel J. Siegel received his medical degree from Harvard University and completed his postgraduate medical education at UCLA with training in pediatrics and child, adolescent and adult psychiatry. He served as a National Institute of Mental Health Research Fellow at UCLA, studying family interactions with an emphasis on how attachment experiences influence emotions, behavior, autobiographical memory and narrative.

Dr. Tina Payne Bryson is the co-author (with Dan Siegel) of two New York Times bestsellers — THE WHOLE-BRAIN CHILD (Random House Delacorte, 2011),and NO-DRAMA DISCIPLINE (Random House Bantam, 2014) — each of which has been translated into over twenty languages. She is a psychotherapist and the Founder/Executive Director of The Center for Connection in Pasadena, California, where she offers parenting consultations and provides therapy to children and adolescents.

My Review: 

The YES Brain is a well researched and organized book for parents. It’s about cultivating four specific life skills in our children: Balance, Resilience, Insight and Empathy.

There is a section for what parents can do to help teach these essential skills then a section that highlights this skill through a series of cartoons that you can show your child.

Main take aways and a few quotes from the book:

  • The YES Brain is teaching our children to be flexible, open and to develop an internal compass.
  • There are Four Fundamentals: Balance, Resilience, Insight and Empathy
  • Balance is about creating an environment for your child where they are well rested and not overscheduled. Often times, our children feel out of control with their emotions, trying to communicate something with us when they are overwhelmed.
  • Resilience is teaching our children how to bounce back from adversity. I liked how they used the following: Sometimes kids need pushin’, sometimes they need cushion. Help your kids feel safe, seen, soothed and secure.Teach mindfulness
  • Insight is paying attention to the PAUSE. Be the spectator observing the player on the field. I heard Casey O’Roarty, Positive Parenting Coach describe this recently as taking the balcony seat. Be able to see a situation from a different perspective before reacting. This was the response is more in line with your values.
  • Empathy can be learned through daily interactions and experiences. It’s about understanding the perspective of others and increasing kids’ awareness of people outside their most intimate connections.

My only suggestion with this book is to make the Refrigerator or “Tip Sheet” a bit more engaging. There is too much text and if I wanted to post it as a reminder, it would get lost under our magnet. Something you can download on your phone with color, main points and less text would be more effective.

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