The Power Of Showing Up Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: The Power Of Showing Up inspires parents to help their kids develop strong bonds and emotional intelligence by identifying how to be fully present as well as the benefits of doing so.

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The other day my 4-year-old was throwing a temper tantrum. I joked with my in-laws: “Have kids they said, it’ll be fun they said.” Being a parent can be tough. When work and life get in the way it’s hard to spend quality time with your little ones and make sure their needs are met!

If you’re a parent, you know the struggle. But you also realize how much you want to take good care of your kids so they grow up healthy and happy. Luckily for you, Tina Bryson and Daniel Siegel wrote The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired to help.

I learned a lot from this amazing book and here are just 3 ideas for better parenting:

  1. Give your kids physical and emotional safety if you want to develop a strong bond with them.
  2. You need to know what your children desire instead of just imposing yours on them if you want to help them know themselves and truly meet their needs.
  3. Don’t threaten youngsters when they’re throwing a tantrum, soothe them to help them develop emotional intelligence.

Do you want to be a better parent? Let’s get right to these lessons to find out how you can!

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Lesson 1: If you want to be close to your kids, give them physical and emotional safety.

I love rollerblading and have done it since I was a kid. Once, I took a turn too hard and scraped my entire knee up pretty bad. Luckily, I’ve since forgotten the pain of this and other injuries I had as a child. 

Emotional trauma, on the other hand, isn’t so easy to wipe from our memories. When children are in threatening or harmful situations, it will stick with them into adulthood. Their development and health will decline, even throughout their lives.

A two-year-long research project involving 15,000 participants called Adverse Childhood Experiences confirmed this. 

Those who’d experienced abuse, neglect, and other forms of dysfunction were worse at relating to others, had a harder time coping with problems, and also had more health issues. They even died earlier on average.

Sometimes, even the best of parents can still be a threat to their children’s safety. The key thing to watch out for is aggression. This can come in various forms, including physical, verbal, or implied, including body language and facial expressions.

Inevitably you’re going to lose your temper at some point though. To mitigate the effects of this on your kids, always apologize. Then, spend quality time with them as soon as you can afterward to heal the relationship.

Lesson 2: To help your children know themselves and meet their needs, you need to pay attention to their desires instead of making them follow yours.

If you have a best friend that you can talk to about anything, then you know how useful they can be for when times are tough. That’s because they understand you deeply and accept you regardless of what happens or what you think and feel.

You need this kind of relationship with your kids if you want to show up for them. Too often, though, it’s difficult to keep your own aspirations out of their way.

A father might, for example, rigorously train his son to become a college athlete. But the dad ignores each instance where the boy hints at his love of music. 

Or a mother might think of her daughter as lazy because she’s getting bad grades when in fact it’s only because she’s having a hard time fitting in.

This isn’t just bad because the kids don’t get to realize their dreams. It’s also a problem because they can internalize these thoughts. The girl whose mother thinks she’s lazy might start believing that’s actually true.

To combat this, develop a curiosity for who they really are and devote enough time to observing them to figure it out. Don’t let your own judgments get in the way either.

Let your kids express themselves freely, too. Plan a regular time to spend just listening and talking with them and let them be open. Don’t judge what they’re saying and they’ll open up to you further.

Lesson 3: Soothe your kids when they’re upset instead of getting angry if you want them to have emotional intelligence.

If you are a parent you know how difficult temper tantrums are to deal with. Even if you don’t have kids but have seen one happening you can get an idea of how frustrating they are. 

The initial tendency in these situations is for parents to respond with anger, threats, or time-out. But none of these work. What the child really needs is empathy. They need you to soothe them.

When you learn this vital skill your kids will become more resilient and will have fewer outbursts in the future. That’s because with repeated soothing from you they’ll gain the skills necessary to do it for themselves.

One Texas school district that the authors worked with showed the power this has. Children who were soothed after getting upset became calm much faster than when they were punished. 

Additionally, the intensity, length, and frequency of their tantrums decreased.

To help your family develop this habit and reap these benefits, use the following tools:

  • A safe space that kids can go when they’re upset.
  • A list of favorite calming songs to listen to.
  • Go-to physical activities to help them deal with the emotions.
  • Signal words or phrases to use when they need your help.

Whenever they show you they’re upset, respond with care and affection and listen to their needs. With practice, their emotional intelligence will become strong like yours.

The Power Of Showing Up Review

I can’t help but enjoy everything that these authors write. Their parenting advice is simple, actionable, and revolutionary. I’ve tried many of the ideas they teach in The Power Of Showing Up already and can attest to their power in helping kids learn to deal with complex emotions!

Who would I recommend The Power Of Showing Up summary to?

The 35-year-old dad who is too busy to spend quality time with his kids, the 57-year-old elementary school teacher that wants to give better support to their students, and anyone that’s interested in helping children be happier and healthier.

Last Updated on July 23, 2023

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.