After a divorce, both parents are necessarily required to learn new skills for single parenting. This often brings new worries about the effect on their children when a parent isn’t physically present for them each and every day. Best-selling authors and psychologists, Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson, well known for their earlier book, “The Whole-Brained Child”, have a new book out which addresses this dilemma in “The Power of Showing Up”. Based on sound scientific research, these well respected doctors assure us that showing up for your kids means offering a “quality of presence.” This does not correlate with the quantity of time spent with your kids, but rather the effort you make each time you do see your kids to help them feel SAFE, SEEN, SOOTHED and SECURE. Each of these four goals are addressed through common hypothetical examples of parent/child interactions, providing simple strategies for success.

For those familiar with these authors’ previous parenting books, this new book incorporates their theory about the benefits of “secure attachment.” Even if you are not familiar with their earlier books, this one is a great summary of their research along with very practical advice. The authors are quite convincing that parents attuned to the principals of secure attachment can successfully raise their children to be confident, independent, self-reliant, adventurous, courageous, resilient, emotionally stable and able to survive adversity.

My favorite example is how to say no to your child when they want to do something that all the other kids are doing, but it’s against your principles, like attending an R rated movie at a young age. One strategy that’s easy to remember is to approach the problem with P.E.A.C.E. (presence, engagement, affection, calm, empathy). They admit it may not always work or immediately get the result you want, but it will help your child know that you are listening and that you care.

The authors explain that quality of presence is provided when “you’re expressing your love to them; when you’re disciplining them, when you’re laughing together, even when you are arguing with them.” “Showing up means bringing your whole being- your attention and awareness- when you are with your child.” For parents too busy to read, even the highlighted one-paragraph summaries will give you simple tips for supporting a secure attachment with your child.

The family law attorneys at Molly B. Kenny, LLC, are ready to help parents transition to single parenting households throughout the divorce process. When you need assistance through that process by attorneys who understand your family dynamics, call Molly B. Kenny, LLC.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington
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