In engaging, heartwarming and often humorous presentations to St. Margaret’s community last week, Dr. Tina Payne Bryson kicked off the 2022-2023 Parent Up Speaker Series and its focus on “Helping Kids Thrive.”
Dr. Bryson is a researcher, clinician and co-author of The Whole-Brain Child and The Power of Showing Up. She spoke to the parent community, followed by presentations to Upper School students and Middle School students in Hurlbut Theater.
For the parent community, Dr. Bryson shared enlightening brain and attachment research to share how parents can best make a difference in the lives of children.
One of the best predictors for how kids turn out, Dr. Bryson said, is secure attachment with at least one person. She describes secure attachment with four S’s:
1. Safe—they feel protected and sheltered from harm;
2. Seen—they know you care about them and pay attention to them by focusing on their inner experience of feelings, thoughts, and meaning in their lives;
3. Soothed—they know you’ll be there for them when they’re hurting; and
4. Secure—they trust you to predictably help them feel “at home” in the world, then learn to help themselves feel safe, seen, and soothed.
Dr. Bryson shared how when a caregiver predictably (not perfectly) cares for a child, that child will enjoy the very best outcomes, even in the face of significant adversity.
“What do kids need most out of you?” Dr. Bryson asked. “You.”
Later in the day, Dr. Bryson presented to the Middle School and Upper School student bodies with more research-based information on brain science and how to best respond to negative emotions like stress, conflict, disappointment and confusion.
Students were provide with practical ways to apply their new understanding of the brain to help them balance their emotions, make good choices, and enjoy better relationships.
Dr. Bryson concluded her visit by meeting with St. Margaret’s team of all-school counselors.
The PTF Parent Up Speaker Series is an educational initiative generously funded by the PTF Grant Enrichment Program working in unison with St. Margaret’s academic leaders. This year’s Parent Up Speaker Series committee includes PTF President Jessica Klausner, Parent Up Speaker Series Chair Melinda Glowacki, Parent Up Speaker Series assistant Rosanna Coveyou, St. Margaret’s Assistant Head of School Ryan Dahlem, Director of Equity and Inclusion Victor Cota and PTF Office Manager Beth Adamany.
The next PTF Parent Up Speaker will be Dr. Nii Addy on Friday, Jan. 27. The 2022-2023 lineup will conclude on March 17 with Dr. Michele Borba.