When you buy a car, you’re handed a detailed owner’s manual that anticipates and helps with nearly any situation you’re likely to encounter. When you open your new laptop, it also comes with a quick set up guide. And when you buy unassembled items, you’ll get diagrams and schematics to show step by step how to build with success. Unfortunately, kids don’t come with the same reference materials, we as parents typically find ourselves making things up as we go along.

Dr. Karen Purvis of the Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University spent years studying children and the behavioral issues parents often encounter. The result of her decades of scholarship is a strategy she called Trust-Based Relational Intervention®. Based on extensive research into childhood brain development, TBRI applies a caring, loving approach to determine and meet each child’s needs … and it’s just as applicable to teens.

In addition to helping parents address behavior problems, TBRI’s three underlying principles — empowerment, connection, and correction — offer an effective blueprint for helping build strong relationships with both youngsters and teens.

Empowerment is all about preparing our kids’ bodies and brains for success. This includes creating an environment in which children and teens can safely regulate their own behavior, along with providing basic physical needs such as hydration and nutrition, so their bodies and brains receive the right fuel for growth and emotional balance.

Connection involves building trust-based relationships in which young people feel they are valued, cared for, safe, and connected to the adults in their lives. As trust grows, they’ll be better prepared for learning and less fearful. Connection includes funs, enjoyment, and curiosity.

While correction may sound like punishment, it’s not designed to leave a child feeling resentful, disconnected, or ashamed. Instead, it involves shaping their beliefs and behaviors. Parents are also mentors and coaches, and helping children and teens deal with issues and helping them build lifelong tools to meet their needs safely while managing stress are all a part of the correcting process.

Several Care to Change professionals have received training in using TBRI with youngsters and teens. We’d be happy of you to arrange a time to sit down with one of us and learn how to use this proven, beneficial strategy to help both of you achieve greater success in both parenting and in your relationships with your kids. Scheduling an appointment is as easy as emailing help@caretochange.org, or clicking here.

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