children

Creating a YES brain

The Whole Brain Child duo Dr. Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson’s latest book release is entitled The YES Brain. Based on real neuroscience by leading experts in the developmental field, this book is an invitation create ideal conditions for your child to develop the lifelong skills of resilience, empathy, insight and a sense of balance. With real and down to earth techniques of simple shifts in how one does their day-to-day parenting, this manual is a quick read for changing things up in ones’ home and fine tuning attitude. I am speaking from the perspective of a clinician who works with families,  and as a parent to four children.

A YES environment offers children an opportunity to grow their creativity, curiosity and neural connections toward a healthy brain. Sadly, many factors in our current generation are contributing to children growing up in a NO world. The NO world (that many of us experienced in our own childhoods) is based on fear, rigidity, and anxiety. Sadly, this negative pattern is often perpetuated for generations, and endemic to many institutions across our social landscape.

What we know now, thanks to brain imaging, is that a child’s brain is really a reflection of the environment they are raised in. Brain imaging has also shed light on the level of flexibility of the human brain (a concept known as neuroplasticity), and its ability to change, which negates most of the 20th century’s concept of how a brain works.  An entire genre of thinking has evolved with this new information, and the parenting market is clogged with products and books espousing miraculous techniques for brain growth.  It might be hard to discern what is real and what is fluff when shopping for the right type of book, product, food etc, with so many things crowding this new market. The YES Brain, and everything else written by Dr. Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson, are the real deal.

 

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Artist Trading Card Wall for your Home

 Artist Trading Card. This is simply a 2.5×3.5 inch card (similar to the size of a playing card), decorated anyway you please. Artist Trading Cards are a phenomenon that has swept the world over the past decade, originating in Europe. The only rule connected to them is that they are not meant to be bought or sold, only traded or given away. The charm and widespread interest in ATC’s are due to their diminutive size which is small enough not elicit any anxiety over one’s creative abilities. Artist Trading Cards can be executed using virtually any medium including: pencil, paint, collage, thread, fabric, stencils, words, photos, etc. Please find some card stock weight paper or heavier, cut it down to 2.5 to 3.5 inches and let your creative spirit soar. Feeling creative? Make a few and give one to someone special in your life.

We like them so much, we have turned a wall in our bathroom into a small gallery. We set up a station with a little rolling cart to give guests who are using our facilities an opportunity to be creative. The cart includes: 2.5×3.5 cards, magazine pictures, magazine words, stickers, markers, glue stick, goggly eyes, and scrapbook removable dots to hang them up. This has made our bathroom a gathering place of sorts.

Post Mother’s Day USA

Like or not, we are all connected to Mother’s Day here in the USA. Unlike other days invented and endlessly marketed by our culture, this one lives on a stratosphere of its own. For reader’s living outside of the US, this blog entry might be relevant for you as well. Most likely motherhood conjures up some sort of emotions, depending on where you are on the spectrum as: a daughter, son, mother, grandmother, foster parent, step parent, soon to be parent, unable to become a parent, etc.

For today’s art project, we will explore our connection to motherhood through a letter writing exercise. Please find some paper and a pen. Write a letter to yourself and describe the most complicated emotion connected to Mother’s Day and the topic of motherhood. Give yourself some advice on how to tackle the emotions you connected to it. Now turn the letter over and start over, with another letter to yourself but date it ten years from now. Explore those same emotions, but imagine that time has aided in giving you wisdom connected to handling these emotions. What kind of advice can you give yourself? Can you think of ways to self soothe yourself if these emotions are intense or a source of baggage?

Yesterday’s art exercise:

Are you a victim or a survivor. This is a loaded question might require quite a bit of time and energy to answer. The goal is to become a survivor and the best way to start is to think of yourself a survivor. Survivors tend to have a quality of resilience. One way to think about this is to ask yourself, Do you own your emotions or do they own you?