Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) explains an alternative way to handle siblings in a conflict. The main goal of this intervention is to have your child:
1) stop telling on their sibling to promote healthy relationships,
2) teach your child accountability, and
3) manage conflict healthily.
Now how do we get there?
- The caregiver says, “I want to know what you did” or “What did you do?”
- Repeat that phrase as many times as it takes until the child tells you what they did, not their sibling.
- After the siblings have both shared what they did, the caregiver responds with, “Thank you for telling me what you did; now, how can we do this better? Can we try again?”
- Have your children “redo” the situation.
- Move on.
There is no “punishment” or “consequence” – we prompt children to redo situations in a healthier way.
Additional options and concepts:
- You may need to remove the children from the space to a neutral or different setting.
- You may try prompting everyone to take a deep breath before the conversation.
- You may separate children and go from one sibling to the next, then bring the sibling unit together for a redo. This ideally is immediately after a fight, argument, or incident.
- Prompt with choices if necessary. “You can ____, or you can _____”.
Siblings have conflict, and this cannot be avoided. But how your children learn, grow, and respond to these experiences matters. Stay connected to both children when using this intervention. Try speaking calmly and maintaining eye contact. If you need help managing sibling conflict, additional ideas could be looking into family therapy!
This blog was written by Meredith Edelen, Marriage and Family Therapy Associate, LSW. Learn more about Meredith and her work here.