Everyday TBRI®: Levels of Response- Level 2

Posted July 22, 2016

Everyday TBRI®: Levels of Response- Level 2

Everyday TBRI®

Levels of Response™
 Level 2: Structured Engagement

So, you’ve done what your training told you to do and started correcting children by being playful.  What do you do when ‘playful’ does not elicit the desired response from your child?  I have to be honest and say that this is the place where I get stuck and revert to “battening the hatches”, “being the heavy”, “dropping the hammer”, or “my way or the highway”.  The goal in all of these is to shut down a situation with the force of a parent’s will, which is not the direction of teaching.  The reality is that all of my force and hammer-dropping usually ends with unhappy, dysregulated children.  Parenting fail!
We know that authoritarian parenting style is high on structure and low on nurture and when trying to impose a parent’s will on a child that is where we are at.  We want to use the least amount of force with children.  When playful engagement does not work, the moment needs more structure without losing the nurture.  The second Level of Response™ is Structured Engagement.  In transitioning out of Playful Engagement, I have to remember that I have a better chance of keeping the situation from escalating when I stay cool.   Here’s that whole “mindful parenting” thing again. 
The first step in Structured Engagement is to give a child your full attention.  Make eye contact and get on the child’s level. In this Level of Response™ our tone should get lower and firmer than it was during Playful Engagement.  Here, we are trying to get resolution through the use of re-dos, choices, or compromises.  Remember, you don’t have to raise your voice and often, lowering your voice forces your child to listen closely.  Calmly list choices, speak in short, concise sentences, and keep your requests simple.  It may take a couple of minutes, but it is worth the time to give a child voice and build motor memory in order to help them learn how to negotiate their needs.
The goal is to keep this train moving forward, so as soon as your kiddo makes a good choice or follows your request, return to being your previous, playful self.  Parenting win!  Kiddo win!  Everyone wins!

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What is TBRI®?

TBRI® is an attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention that is designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children. TBRI® uses Empowering Principles to address physical needs, Connecting Principles for attachment needs, and Correcting Principles to disarm fear-based behaviors. While the intervention is based on years of attachment, sensory processing, and neuroscience research, the heartbeat of TBRI® is connection.

TBRI® is designed for children from “hard places” such as abuse, neglect, and/or trauma. Because of their histories, it is often difficult for these children to trust the loving adults in their lives, which often results in perplexing behaviors. TBRI® offers practical tools for parents, caregivers, teachers, or anyone who works with children, to see the “whole child” in their care and help that child reach his highest potential.

Want to know more? Visit TCU’s Institute of Child Developmenthttp://child.tcu.edu/.