Dr. Tina Bryson on No-Drama Discipline and How To Really Show Up For The People You Love
Teaching your children to be secure starts with them feeling safe, seen and soothed.
When you hear “the power of showing up,” you might be thinking of that blissful moment when your Instagram Photo Book Series finally appears on your doorstep. Or maybe you think of that time your best friend stayed up all night listening to you when you broke up with your first significant other. Those consistent figures in your life who show up and come through time and time again mean the world to you. In fact, showing up consistently in a child's life is one of the greatest predictors of a child's success in life.
That’s why Dr. Tina Bryson, bestselling author of The Power of Showing Up and No-Drama Discipline, stopped by The Momforce Podcast to share her expert tips on how to truly be present for your kids, spouses and everyone in between. “The power of showing up is applicable in my relationship with my husband, sister and even my own mother,” says Bryson. Here are her tricks to having a powerful presence...
Set good patterns.
According to Bryson, your brain is wired to expect patterns from your relationships with others. “The most important thing we can do — the best predictor for how a kid turns out is if they are securely attached to at least one person,” explains Bryson. The kind of relationship you provide for your children changes how their brain develops over time.
When it comes to spending time with your kids, it’s all about quality, not quantity.
Many parents may be worried that their part-time or full-time jobs will hinder their ability to provide a secure attachment for their little ones. It may be difficult for you to show up at every pre-school talent show, every little league sporting event or every play date. However, Bryson explains, “The same parent who works 60 hours a week can still have a more secure child than a parent who wears their baby in a baby wrap all day.”
In her book, The Power of Showing Up, Bryson explains that every child needs to feel what she calls the “four s’s”: safe, seen, soothed and secure. Here’s a breakdown of each one...
The first “s” does not refer to just putting a child in a car seat, and some parents may even mistake this concept to mean *keeping children away from any kind of hurt the world has to offer.* However, safety refers to a safe haven for your child to turn to if they feel threatened or upset. “This doesn’t mean not having boundaries,” warns Bryson. “Being predictable for your children is the best way to let them know they are safe.”
“This means that a child is being known and feeling felt,” says Bryson. Bryson shares how many parents, herself included, have probably told a child to “toughen up” when they are sad or scared, but what a child hears is “my parents don’t understand me, they are not going to help me, and now I am on my own.” She uses the analogy of a child being afraid when they see a spider in their room and won’t go to sleep. Instead of telling them to just ignore it and go back to sleep, let your child know they are heard and that you will offer them a solution by helping to find and kill the spider.
This leads into the next “s” which is to soothe your children when they cannot understand their anger and sadness at the world. “It is impossible to spoil kids by giving them too much affection or attention,” says Bryson. Parents may be worried that soothing is the same as coddling, and will lead to spoiled children who aren’t tough enough to face the world. “Actually, it is the exact opposite. If you want your kid to be tough and resilient, you need to soothe them and let them know that they can deal with difficult things because they have your support.”
Security when it comes to showing up for your children means that their brains have created an expectation of how their relationships will perform. A child who is safe, seen and soothed will be secure in knowing that if they have a need, it will be met. Bryson explains that, eventually, this will allow the child to build a pattern for themselves to know how to feel safe, seen, soothed and secure as they get older.
Don't stress about missteps.
Showing up is a concept that will take time to perfect. Dr. Bryson advises parents not to stress when they mess up along the way. “When we mess up as parents, this can be a good experience for children to recognize that conflict sometimes exists in relationships and they can move forward in life knowing that life isn’t perfect,” she says.
For more real-life parenting tips and tricks, check out the MomForce Podcast! Vanessa Quigley, mother of 7 and co-founder of Chatbooks, hosts this refreshing take on all things mom. Along with her 4 sisters, they’ll get into the nitty-gritty of parenting together, bringing in experts to get to the source of your most-Googled "adulting" questions. Check out the #MOMFORCE BY CHATBOOKS FACEBOOK PAGE and find us on Instagram @THEMOMFORCEPODCAST.