One of the very best scientific predictors for how any child turns out—in terms of happiness, academic success, leadership skills, and meaningful relationships—is whether at least one adult in their life has consistently shown up for them. In an age of scheduling demands and digital distractions, showing up for your child might sound like a tall order. But as bestselling authors Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson reassuringly explain, it doesn’t take a lot of time, energy, or money. Instead, showing up means offering a quality of presence. And it’s simple to provide once you understand the four building blocks of a child’s healthy development. Every child needs to feel what Siegel and Bryson call the Four S’s:
• Safe: We can’t always insulate a child from injury or avoid doing something that leads to hurt feelings. But when we give a child a sense of safe harbor, she will be able to take the needed risks for growth and change.
• Seen: Truly seeing a child means we pay attention to his emotions—both positive and negative—and strive to attune to what’s happening in his mind beneath his behavior.
• Soothed: Soothing isn’t about providing a life of ease; it’s about teaching your child how to cope when life gets hard, and showing him that you’ll be there with him along the way. A soothed child knows that he’ll never have to suffer alone.
• Secure: When a child knows she can count on you, time and again, to show up—when you reliably provide safety, focus on seeing her, and soothe her in times of need, she will trust in a feeling of secure attachment. And thrive!
Based on the latest brain and attachment research, The Power of Showing Up shares stories, scripts, simple strategies, illustrations, and tips for honoring the Four S’s effectively in all kinds of situations—when our kids are struggling or when they are enjoying success; when we are consoling, disciplining, or arguing with them; and even when we are apologizing for the times we don’t show up for them. Demonstrating that mistakes and missteps are repairable and that it’s never too late to mend broken trust, this book is a powerful guide to cultivating your child’s healthy emotional landscape.
January 7th, 2020
When I saw that authors Siegel and Bryson were releasing a new parenting book, I couldn’t request The Power of Showing Up fast enough! Their past writing has been such a formative part of my own parenting.
Siegel and Bryson always share their knowledge, research, and experiences in an accessible and compassionate way. While they have decades of work in this area they make brain development and psychology approachable and easy to understand have the ability to write in a way that makes you feel heard while also empowering you with new tools and ideas.
The Power of Showing Up is another wonderful addition to their collection of books that speak to you whether you are a parent, caregiver, teacher, etc. They take on attachment theory and share the powerful reminder that the most important thing we can do for our children and to be there for them.
Doing this, we can teach and show them the value of comfort, support and unconditional love through both the highs and lows of being humans. They explain how we can do this through the idea of the “Four S’s”…being seen, safe, soothed and secure.
As a person who experienced insecure attachment as a child, I often hyper-focus on our children always knowing they are heard and loved, while also dealing with the reality that parenting is never-ending and sometimes I lose my cool.
The reality is, everyone makes mistakes, and it is what we do next that is far more important. While I know this in theory, having it presented in an insightful and accessible manner is something I will always remember. I could go on and on about this book but I will just say that I highly recommend it and got so much out of it.
Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.