TBRI Mantra: Meet the Need

In this series we are exploring mantras and their role in caring for children from hard places. Dr. Cross’s TBRI Mantra includes nuggets of wisdom that can be helpful for anyone who is using Trust-Based Relational Intervention®. If you haven’t yet, go ahead and read the previous posts in this series before reading this week’s installment.

Part I | Part II | Part III 

Once we’ve identified what the child needs, it’s our job as caregivers to meet the need whenever possible. In optimal development, a nurturing caregiver consistently responds a baby’s cries. This happens thousands of times in the first year of life, which builds a trusting relationship between child and caregiver and contributes to healthy attachment. Because most children from hard places didn’t experience this type of care, we must be creative in meeting needs and saying yes, just like we would with a newborn baby.

“Meeting the need is what TBRI® is all about. Training (in TBRI®) informs every component of the mantra, but it most informs meeting the need because TBRI is about teaching caregivers skills to meet needs. Choices and compromises, for example, may meet a child’s need of felt safety while also allowing the caregiver to appropriately share power. Playfully engaging a child meets the need for joy and deep connection with a safe adult. There are many ways that we can appropriately and effectively meet our children’s needs.” – Dr. David Cross

Obviously it’s not always feasible or appropriate to give a child exactly what he wants, but we can build and strengthen trusting relationships by creatively and joyfully meeting our children’s needs whenever it is possible. Identifying and meeting a child’s needs helps her to feel seen, safe, and understood.

Use your words:

What is one way that you have creatively met the need of a child in your care? 

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