EPIC Blog: Connection Before Correction - 4KIDS
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EPIC Blog: Connection Before Correction

May 16th, 2022 l Author: Betsy Godoy- Rosado, LCSW (edited by Michele Rogan)

How do you best receive feedback? Is it when someone you barely know watches from afar and then charges in to tell you you’re doing something wrong and need to fix it? Or is it when a friend or loved one asks questions before assuming they know the situation, and makes suggestions based on what they know about you?


I think we can all agree that feedback will be easier to receive in the second scenario, and the same is true for children! Trust Based Relational (TBRI) is an evidence-based model used to care for kids with trauma, and an important approach in TRBI is connection before correction. Children, just like you and I, will respond to requests better when there has been solid trust established, and when care is at the core of the request. Based on TBRI, here are 3 important things to keep in mind when navigating connection before correction.


1. Maintain Eye Contact

This is incredibly important because it makes a child feel seen. Instead of hovering a few feet above, try kneeling or sitting down with the child to be on the same level. Face to face interaction with a child creates a bond signaling that you care. If the child is okay with physical touch, putting your hand on their chin also creates a sense of comfort during a difficult conversation.

2. Be aware of your tone

The way something is said can make a huge difference on how it is received. Raising your voice when having a conversation with anyone, let alone a child, can negatively impact the point you are trying to get across. If the goal is to deescalate the situation, your tone should have kind intention, and remain at a normal volume.

3. Know where the child is coming from

This creates trust to build a connection. It’s easy to assume things, but avoiding that assumption allows you to approach a child from an unbiased place when entering a discussion. For example, if a child is getting visibly upset when they are told to share, a good place to start is to ask questions. Why don’t you want to share? Is this toy special to you? If the irritability continues, step back and make sure the child’s physical needs are being met. Maybe the child is hungry, or hasn’t slept in a while, or possibly just needs to take a deep breath. Many times, there is an answer to these meltdowns, and getting to the source will ease some conflict.


Trust must always remain at the core of parenting. Trust is needed to strengthen relationships, shape conversations, and create a sense of belonging. The only way to build that trust is through creating a solid connection, and with that comes successful correction.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” – Colossians 3:12