The T.R.U.S.T. Technique is a framework for addressing many parenting issues with a relational or attachment based approach. It is especially helpful when your child is struggling emotionally, having meltdowns, or is having difficulty communicating. Please see my blog post detailing how to implement this technique if you have not read it before. Below, is a daily checklist for parents who want to use this technique. It serves as a daily self-inventory for parents who are focused on building closer relationships with their children. Once this technique is used regularly, it becomes part of how we naturally parent. It makes connection with our children a daily priority.
T: TAKE TIME
-Have I invested one on one undistracted time with my child today?
(Action: Play, spend time watching your child’s favorite show, read his/her favorite book, bring your child a snack and hang out in his/her room, go for an errand and stop for a snack together, go out for dinner or ice cream.)
R: RECONNECT RELATIONSHIP
-Have I tried to connect with my child in a “face to face” fashion about his/her feelings and experiences today?
(Action: While taking time, HUG your child. Say, “I missed you today.” Say, “I LOVE YOU” regardless of your child’s behavior. Ask open ended questions like “Tell me about your day. I’ve been waiting to hear about it.” “What was the best and worst part of your day today?” “Anything new happen with your friends today?” “What is (friend’s name) up to?” Share something about your day or your life with your child.)
U: UNDERSTAND NEEDS BEHIND BEHAVIORS
– If I am noticing my child has a problem behavior, have I taken time to focus on the needs that are driving those behaviors?
(Action: Take a look beyond behavior, and ask yourself if your child could be having a bad day, a struggle with friends, wanting more time with you, or feeling negatively toward him/herself. Say “I love you. I’d love to know how you are feeling.” “Is there anything you are thinking or feeling that you think I won’t get or understand? Because I’d like to try.”)
S: STRENGTHEN AND AFFIRM
-Have I said something to strengthen and affirm my child today? Have I affirmed our relationship?
(Action: Strengthen your relationship through warmth and affection. Affirm your child by letting him/her know, “I enjoy spending time with you.” Notice things in your child that are positive. “I like the way that you did your hair today!” “I like how you put so much effort into that!” “I like that you were so kind to (name).” “I like that you think carefully and are so observant!”)
-Have I helped my child to be in a growth (faith driven, positive, and embracing) mindset?
(Action: “Let’s thank God for all of the good things in our lives. I am thankful for you.” or “Don’t worry, we all have hard days. Things will get better.” or “Let’s pray about that. God listens and always helps us.” or “Let’s remember that we get better at things the more we try. I am here to help.” or “We all make mistakes and fall down sometimes. You aren’t alone. That’s how we grow.”)
-Have I helped my child think critically and be emotionally aware of others? To think for him/herself?
(Action: “What do you think?” “I wonder what (name) was feeling or what might be going on in his/her life?” “What do you think could be going on in that situation?” “Why do you think that might be?” “I wonder how we could make things better?”)
-Have I had a teaching moment with my child after connecting with him/her?
(Action: Take time to teach your children something daily. Perhaps you will teach a life skill, a new way to tackle a problem, or a fun fact. After all, it is the day to day little lessons that children grow up to remember.)