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The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired Kindle Edition
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“Parenting at this moment in time and at today’s pace feels hard. But that makes it all that much more important that we try to simplify the process of parenting and not put quite so much pressure on our own parenting shoulders. The Power of Showing Up will help you do just that. Siegel and Payne Bryson are master teachers when it comes to helping parents react and respond to kids in ways that communicate ‘I hear you.’ They articulate and quantify how to make your parenting easier—and better!”—Christine Carter, Ph.D., author of Raising Happiness
“Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson have written their best book yet—and that is saying a lot. They have distilled their parenting wisdom—based on neuroscience research and a deep empathy for children’s needs—into a profound concept: showing up. It is one of those great ideas that seems so obvious—but only after someone has shown it to you and spelled it out clearly. Best of all, Siegel and Payne Bryson ‘show up’ for the reader of this book. They know parents, know their fears and anxieties, hopes and dreams, and they provide an accessible path to seeing and soothing children and providing them with safety and security.”—Lawrence J. Cohen, Ph.D., author of Playful Parenting
“An essential book for every parent who yearns to be more effective and present and, simply, better. It shows us that we don’t have to be perfect, but we can make our kids feel more secure and confident (now and in the future) if we are present and aware as parents. This important book gives us the steps to follow to make this happen.”—Harold S. Koplewicz, M.D., president, Child Mind Institute
“Rarely does a book so broad and deep of subject give you the small doable steps to find your way to success, confidence, and connection with your children. The Power of Showing Up brings to life the Zulu greeting ‘Sawubona’ (I see you) and the refrain ‘Ngikhona’ (I am here), which are essential for the parent-child connection.”—Kim John Payne, author of Simplicity Parenting and The Soul of Discipline
“Drs. Siegel and Payne Bryson teach us how a parent can make a child feel safe, seen, soothed, and secure, even if he or she didn’t have that in their own childhoods.”—Michael Thompson, Ph.D., co-author of the New York Times bestselling classic Raising Cain
“Siegel and Bryson provide relatable real world examples and . . . specific advice for handling various situations. . . . Parents looking for solid research delivered in an accessible manner will find Siegel and Bryson getting the job done well yet again.”—Booklist
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
What It Means to Show Up
One message we deliver over and over whenever we write about parenting is that you don’t have to be perfect. Nobody is. There’s no such thing as flawless child-rearing. (We’ll pause while you let out a deep, relieved breath.) So raise a warm, left-in-the-minivan juice box to all of us imperfect parents out there.
At some level we all know this, but many of us—especially committed, thoughtful, intentional parents—consistently fall prey to feelings of anxiety or inadequacy. We worry about our children and their safety, of course, but we also worry that we’re not being “good enough” in the way we’re raising them. We worry that our kids won’t grow up to be responsible or resilient or relational or . . . (fill in the blank). We worry about the times we let them down, or hurt them. We worry that we’re not giving them enough attention, or that we’re giving them too much attention. We even worry that we worry too much!
We’ve written this book for all the imperfect parents who care deeply about their kids (as well as for imperfect grandparents and teachers and professionals and anyone else who cares for a child). We have one central message full of comfort and hope: When you’re not sure how to respond in a given situation with your child, don’t worry. There’s one thing you can always do, and it’s the best thing of all. Instead of worrying, or trying to attain some standard of perfection that simply doesn’t exist, just show up.
Showing up means what it sounds like. It means being there for your kids. It means being physically present, as well as providing a quality of presence. Provide it when you’re meeting their needs; when you’re expressing your love to them; when you’re disciplining them; when you’re laughing together; even when you’re arguing with them. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to read all the parenting bestsellers, or sign your kids up for all the right enrichment activities. You don’t have to have a committed co-parent. You don’t even have to know exactly what you’re doing. Just show up.
Showing up means bringing your whole being—your attention and awareness—when you’re with your child. When we show up, we are mentally and emotionally present for our child in that moment. In many ways, there is no other time but now—this present moment of time—and you are in charge of learning how to show up in ways that will both greatly empower you as a parent and promote resilience and strength in your child. It’s this power of presence that enables us to create an empowered mind for our children—even if we mess up on a regular basis.
Depending on your background and what kind of parents you had as a child, showing up for your own kids might come naturally. Or, you might find it difficult. You might even recognize at this moment that you’re not showing up for your kids in a consistent way, either physically or emotionally. In the coming pages we’ll discuss how, regardless of your own childhood experiences, you can be—and continue to become—the kind of parent you want to be.
Of course we all make better and worse decisions as parents, and there are all kinds of skills we can attain to help our children develop in optimal ways. But when you get right down to it, parenting is about simply being present for our kids. As we’ll soon explain, the longitudinal research on child development clearly demonstrates that one of the very best predictors for how any child turns out—in terms of happiness, social and emotional development, leadership skills, meaningful relationships, and even academic and career success—is whether they developed security from having at least one person who showed up for them. Across cultures around the globe, these studies reveal a universal finding about how we can parent well, if not flawlessly.
And the great news is that these empirical findings can be synthesized and then made accessible for all of us imperfect parents all over the world. That’s what this book is about.
What Showing Up Looks Like: The Four S’s
When a caregiver predictably (not perfectly) cares for a child, that child will enjoy the very best outcomes, even in the face of significant adversity. Predictable care that supports a healthy and empowering relationship embodies what we call the “Four S’s”—helping kids feel (1) safe—they feel protected and sheltered from harm; (2) seen—they know you care about them and pay attention to them; (3) soothed—they know you’ll be there for them when they’re hurting; and (4) secure—based on the other S’s, they trust you to predictably help them feel “at home” in the world, then learn to help themselves feel safe, seen, and soothed.
When we can offer kids the Four S’s, making repairs whenever the inevitable ruptures in these connections with our children may occur, we help create what’s called “secure attachment,” and it’s absolutely key to optimal healthy development.
As in our other books, everything we present here is backed by science and research. And as we’ll soon explain, these ideas emerge from the field of attachment science, where for the last half-century researchers have been conducting careful studies. If you know our earlier work—from Dan’s title with Mary Hartzell called Parenting from the Inside Out and through our books The Whole-Brain Child, No-Drama Discipline, and The Yes Brain—then you’ll immediately see, as you read the coming pages, how this book expands on what we’ve written before by going deeper into concepts vital to understanding the science behind whole-brain parenting. We’ve even added a few new twists here and there, since our understanding of parenting and the brain, along with the field of attachment science in general, continues to grow and evolve. So readers who know our work well will both see something new and feel right at home, recognizing familiar concepts while also gaining a richer understanding of them. We’ve worked hard to make the scientific information as accessible as possible, so that even someone approaching these ideas for the first time can follow along and immediately apply them in their personal and parenting lives.
In addition to attachment science, the other primary scientific framework underpinning our work is interpersonal neurobiology (IPNB), an approach in which we combine various fields of science into one perspective on what the mind and mental thriving are all about. IPNB looks at how our mind—including our feelings and thoughts, our attention and awareness—and our brain and the whole body are deeply interwoven within our relationships with one another and the world around us each to shape who we are. The field of IPNB has dozens of professional textbooks (now over seventy) exploring the science of mental health and human development. Within those fields synthesized by IPNB is the study of attachment as well as scholarship on the brain, including a focus on how the brain changes in response to experience, called neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity explains how the actual physical architecture of the brain adapts to new experiences and information, reorganizing itself and creating new neural pathways based on what a person sees, hears, touches, thinks about, practices, and so on. Anything we give attention to, anything we emphasize in our experiences and interactions, creates new links in the brain. Where attention goes, neurons fire. And where neurons fire, they wire, or join together.
What does this have to do with showing up? Well, your reliable presence in the lives of your children can significantly impact the physical architecture and connectivity in their brains, creating mental models and expectations about the way the world works. A mental model is a summary the brain makes that creates a generalization of many repeated experiences. Such mental models are constructed from the past, filter our current experience, and shape how we anticipate and sometimes even sculpt our future interactions. The mental models are formed within the architecture of neural networks underlying attachment and memory.
No kidding—the experiences you provide in terms of your relationship with your child will literally mold the physical structure of her brain. Those connections in the brain in turn influence how her mind will work. In other words, when parents consistently show up, their children’s minds come to expect that the world is a place that can be understood and meaningfully interacted with—even in times of trouble and pain—because the experiences you provide shape the ways the brain processes information. The brain learns to anticipate certain realities, based on what has happened before. That means your children will predict what’s coming next based on previous experience. So when you are present for them, they come to expect positive interactions—from others, and from themselves. Kids learn who they are and who they can and should be, in both good times and bad, through their interactions with us, their parents. Showing up thus creates in our kids neural pathways that lead to selfhood, grit, strength, and resilience. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B07QFMGLTR
- Publisher : Ballantine Books (January 7, 2020)
- Publication date : January 7, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 34430 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 240 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 1524797731
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #57,401 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Successful and secure. Your past doesn’t define you, but there are ways to shape and mold your little people.
Excellent points throughout the book!
By Olivia on October 14, 2019
Successful and secure. Your past doesn’t define you, but there are ways to shape and mold your little people.
Excellent points throughout the book!
One of my big beefs right now as a parent, teacher and coach is that many of us are so INTO our phones that we don't or can't see our children. Nothing makes me crazier than going out for a nice dinner and be seated next to a family where everyone is engrossed in their phone. What's the point? So when I was offered this title I almost passed . . . I (Capital, bold, italicized) pay attention to my kids. I don't need that book.
BUT I was short on reading material, and maybe there's something there for me. So I requested it.
The book itself is well made -- strong binding, thick cover, thick pages. Print is clear and easy to read with illustrations and images that help drive the point home. The information included is interesting and easy to read while stimulating thought and consideration for your life and how your actions shape the adults your children will become. Basic chapters are broken into an introduction to attachment science, helping your child feel safe/seen/soothed and secure, and a conclusion. It allows the parent (regardless of your child's age) to consider how you were parented and you are parenting your own. Yes, as a parent of a child with an attachment disorder I have heard the majority of this information before. But it is a great reminder and many sections were presented in a unique way I haven't heard before. Do I think it will "cure" my eldest? Definitely not. But it will give me a reminder on the methods that will work well for her, and it certainly will benefit my other child as well.
The BEST part of this book was that there was no blame. So often people with children who have attachment issues are told (or feel like they're being told) that they are the problem. There was no discussion of how you are a lousy parent, just realistic advice to evaluate where you are now and move forward to a healthier future.
Top reviews from other countries
It provides an understanding of what was lacking in their approach, and as a consequence now in yours. That in turn can transform your view of yourself and your approach to parenting in a very positive way.
While my child still in grade school, and my parenting mistakes have been many (on every level), this book was an epiphany. Suddenly my upbringing (and whole live) made perfect sense and my path to better parenting became crystal clear.
Reviewed in Canada on January 22, 2020