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Learning Empathy

Erin became a resource (foster) parent about a year and a half ago and when she and her partner were placed with a 16-year-old and her 5-month-old baby they sought out additional support. Being in the foster system is hard enough for a youth, but having a baby brings a whole new set of challenges and responsibilities. This was a new experience, both for the teen and for Erin.

In order to continue her training as a certified resource parent, Erin was looking for courses to take and heard about the Alliance's TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Intervention) class. The fact that TBRI focuses on building trust and connection with kids versus authoritarian parenting really stood out to her so she signed up. Erin, pictured in teal with other classmates, enjoyed the group exercises and was an active participant in discussion times.

There were many helpful things Erin learned in this course including the knowledge that "kids from hard places don't react the way other people do so having empathy and softness is important." Throughout the 8-week class, she was inspired to incorporate this type of parenting within her own home and find a balance of structure and nurture!

When Erin had a situation where her foster daughter was not following curfew rules, she was able to discuss this in class and gain insight on how to respond in love but still set up healthy boundaries and consequences. Erin was encouraged by the support she received and stated, "I feel more confident in parenting kids from hard places knowing that every behavior has a need that [kids] are trying to meet and if you work together towards meeting those needs in ways that are beneficial to everyone, there is a large chance of success."

Having access to new parenting strategies that are trauma-informed and focused on connection has allowed Erin to make a difference in the life of this teen as well as her baby. Being a resource (foster) family requires a creative approach to parenting and Erin’s willingness to make those adjustments and help vulnerable kids entrusted to her care is an inspiration.

If you are interested in upcoming TBRI classes offered through the Alliance, click here!

TBRI is a phenomenal training based out of TCU which you can learn more about here.



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