There is no one right way to be a parent. In fact, there are so many right ways to be a parent. There are, however, some scientifically-backed principles that best predict the healthy development of a child. Dr. Daniel Siegel and Dr. Tina Paine Bryson in their book The Power of Showing Up, How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Gets Wired describe how.
The 4 S’s That Build Secure Attachment in Our Children:
Safe - being a safe anchor for your child. This includes both protecting them from harm and not being a source of fear.
Seen - attuning to your child’s emotions. This means taking notice of what emotions lie underneath behaviors.
Soothed - being there for your child. Your child knows you are there for them during happy and hard times and everywhere in between.
Secure - the result of the above. Your child knows that you are consistently “showing up” for them.
The authors also remind the readers that we parents will make mistakes and that is to be expected. The best way to handle those are to make repairs and reconnect with our kids as soon as we can to re-establish safety and trust.
Show Up for Yourself Too
I really love the idea of applying the 4 S’s to ourselves. If we can be there for ourselves, attune to our own emotions, and soothe ourselves, perhaps we can cultivate a more internal secure attachment for ourselves as well as provide that for our kids.
Just imagine how the world might change for the better if we all could cultivate this!
I highly recommend reading this book. In the meantime you can download this “refrigerator sheet” for an easy reminder of the 4 S’s as well as simple strategies for each.