“My grandmother calls him a little hellion, whatever that is. She’s always telling me she would have never have put up with him the way I do. If one of my uncles had acted that way, he wouldn’t be able to sit for a week. She says I’m too soft on him and he’d be better if I punished him more. But I’ve tried punishing him. I’ve tried arguing with him. I’ve tried reasoning with him. I’ve tried pleading with him. I don’t know what else to try!”

All children have moments when they push their parents’ patience to superhuman levels, but some kids demonstrate behavior that signals a need for more than ordinary discipline. How well children respond to a parent’s attempts to change behavior has more to do with what happens inside their brains than on how their parents might be classified.

Some time back, a mental health professional studied behavioral issues, their causes, and how well different responses work with them. The research by Dr. Karen Purvis of the Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University led her to develop a remarkably effective therapy known as Trust-Based Relational Intervention®. TBRI is based upon what scientists have learned about the development of children’s brains, and Care to Change uses its strategies every day to help parent and child alike.

One of TBRI’s three pillars centers on how adults can correct inappropriate behaviors. A key strategy is helping children make the right decisions by encouraging positive actions. Instead of constantly scolding kids for making the wrong decisions, this approach praises them when they make the right choices. Parents learn how to become better at giving children options, so they have more opportunities to practice making the right decisions and feel they have more control over what happens in their lives. Parents also discover how they can correct negative behaviors in more effective and longer-lasting ways.

This approach to correction benefits both child and parent. The child feels more successful and more confident, because they’re receiving encouragement instead of a steady stream of criticism. We all like to receive positive feedback, and TBRI helps kids learn how their choices can help them receive more of it. For parents, the strategy deepens their connection with their kids and increases the share of interactions that are positive. Our counselors have seen excellent results with children whose behavior had pushed their parents to the breaking point.

Could TBRI be the solution for helping you and your children? The best way to find out is to set a meeting with one of our counselors who has received professional training in TBRI. They’ll be happy to listen to your family’s challenges and answer your questions.