Agnes Scott Professor’s Book Aims to Help Children Make Better Decisions

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Like adults, children face dilemmas in their everyday lives. However, unlike most adults, young children are more easily confused by their conflicting emotions.
Why Do My Feet Say Yes When My Head Says No? by Eileen Cooley
Eileen Cooley, a professor of psychology at Agnes Scott College, has published a new book for young children, parents and educators to help children increase their awareness of inner emotions and make decisions that lead to more positive results. Why Do My Feet Say YES When My Head Says NO? illustrates common predicaments children encounter and provides concrete examples of children making wise choices.

“This book addresses two types of dilemmas; choices between what children want to do and what they think they should do, and between what they want to do and what they fear,” Cooley said.

“While specific solutions are demonstrated, the goal is to encourage children to develop their own problem solving skills,” Cooley said.

Here is one example from the book:

My feet say, “I want to jump off the diving board!” But my head says, “Oh, no. The board is so high.”

On the next page the child says, “I know … “I will jump off the side of the pool first.” This example addresses a child’s fear and shows the child how to break a problem into smaller steps.
Book Inside
“Therapists and counselors often encourage clients to identify mixed emotions to better understand themselves,” Cooley said. “Assigning each feeling to a different body part provides a concrete, enjoyable way for children to visualize and understand their feelings.”

The characters in the book, made with cut paper collage, were created by professional illustrator and Cooley’s close friend, Jill Dubin.

“In addition to demonstrating emotional problem-solving for children, the book encourages enjoyable family discussions and helps adults develop patience and understanding with the children in their lives,” Cooley said.

For more info on Why Do My Feet Say YES When My Head Says NO?, published by Headline Books, visit

Agnes Scott College educates women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times. Students are drawn to Agnes Scott by its excellent academic reputation, exceptional faculty and metropolitan Atlanta location—offering myriad social, cultural and experiential learning opportunities. This highly selective liberal arts college is known for its diverse and dynamic intellectual community. Through SUMMIT, it provides every student, regardless of major, with an individualized course of study and co-curricular experiences that develop leadership abilities and understanding of complex global dynamics.