Some people are taking advantage of this pandemic by cleaning and organizing rooms they have avoided, engaging in hobbies, cooking, exercising, etc. A huge kudos to them, what a great time to do these things! I can’t help but think about the parents raising children from trauma, trying to work from home, and helping their children with online schooling all at the same time? We cannot expect to do this perfectly every day. Some days we are just lucky to survive.
What is a good thing to take advantage of during these challenging days ahead? Try strengthening your relationships with your children in times of crisis. Sound impossible? Let’s not just survive this pandemic, let’s thrive during it. The strategy I will share is discussed in TBRI (Trust Based Relational Intervention) created by Karyn Purvis and David Cross.
Children from trauma need structure, routine, predictability, and transitions, to be their best and thrive. They need physical activity, nutrition, hydration, and sensory input to keep their brain and bodies regulated. We also know they need connection and communication to heal.
When we make mistakes with our children known as a ‘rupture’, we want to repair that mistake. A big rupture and repair is explained in TBRI training. The rupture is the early-life trauma your child has experienced and the repair is the healing that occurs through relationship. Parents and children experience many “mini rupture and repairs”. These mini ruptures include things such as engaging in arguments, yelling, or other mistakes we make when we lose our temper and forget a connected way to respond to our child. The repair occurs when you go back to your child, connect and apologize. The rupture occurs because you’re in your downstairs brain (reacting to emotions) instead of your upstairs brain (thinking rationally and logically). The repairs to these ruptures are going back to connect with and apologize to your child once you are back in a regulated state and using your upstairs brain (thinking brain).
We don’t need to fear these mini ruptures or feel ashamed when they occur. It is through these mini ruptures and repairs that healing occurs. You can view the ruptures as opportunities to connect with your child. When using any parenting strategy, it is not possible to do things perfectly. You will lose your temper, get upset and frustrated, and do things you regret. That is part of being human.
What matters is what you do after you make the mistake. Go back, apologize, and connect. When you repair a rupture, you are modeling vulnerability, and identifying and sharing your emotions. You are talking about the problem, apologizing for a mistake you made, and showing the other person they are valuable, precious, and loved. You are modeling healthy, safe relationships.
What will your child learn from this modeling? They too will learn to be vulnerable, identify and share their feelings, and talk about problems. They will learn it is normal to make mistakes. They learn it is safe to admit when they make a mistake. The best part is the connection that happens when they feel loved, valued, and precious.
Even though this time of pandemic is difficult to navigate, wouldn’t it feel great to come out of the crisis with a better relationship with your child?
For more information on this strategy google TBRI or watch TBRI or Karyn Purvis videos on Youtube, like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T43zJDgTNPA
This blog post was written by Post Adopt Coordinator, Sherie Madewell-Buesgens, LBSW