The Power of showing up:

How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired

by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. & Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D.

 

What’s the one thing a parent can do to make the most difference in the long run? The research is clear: Show up!

 
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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 Upshares 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.

 

Advance Praise

“At a cultural moment when many kids feel more competition with their parents’ devices than with their siblings, Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson have spun a miracle—The Power of Showing Up is the ultimate guide to family reconnection. Clear, profound, and charmingly illustrated, it unravels the challenges of modern parenting and reveals the simple truths about what children really need from the adults in their lives.”

—Wendy Mogel, New York Times bestselling author of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee and The Blessing of a B Minus

“Encouraging and empowering . . . Siegel and Payne Bryson will leave readers with an empathetic and helpful philosophy to apply to their own parenting.”

Publishers Weekly



“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. They know that showing up for children is harder than it sounds, 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

“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 Showing Up will help you do just that. Daniel Siegel and Tina 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 Happines