This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rebuilding Trust

This is something I designed for the kids to use when writing their letters of apology for the FAIR Club assignment (which I'm still working on!).

Rebuilding Trust

Apologies and forgiveness are important because endless conflicts generate such deep and intense emotions. Even after the fighting stops, people still feel the pain, hurt, anger, fear, and hatred that produced the conflict and its horrors in the first place. Without apology and forgiveness, little progress beyond a ceasefire can be made.

To forgive does not mean you have to forget. In fact the opposite is true. We have to remember the past to keep it from happening again.

Immediately after breaking trust, you should act quickly to heal the relationship. This tells the victim that you are aware of the break in trust and care about your relationship. This also means the victim doesn’t have to deal with both suffering the consequences of the violation and having to confront you with the consequences of your behavior.

Apology - An apology has to be heartfelt and reflect true remorse for past actions.
Remorse – to feel guilt, shame, sorrow, and regret over one’s actions.
Regret –to feel badly about the choice you made and be disappointed in yourself.

A good apology should include:
1. Apologize for how you hurt the other person (victim). Be specific.
2. Give a thorough report of what happened. Take responsibility for your actions, and express remorse for the harm that the victim endured because of the event (even any parts that were not your intention or not directly due to your actions).
3. Also, be sure to carefully explain why you made the choices you made and what events led to the violation, so the victim can understand the events that led you to your decisions. This will help them see the reasons behind your actions and give them a better understanding of your beliefs and values that are likely to shape your actions in the future. It will also help them believe that you are not likely to repeat the action that hurt them. Your remorse indicates to the victim that you have also suffered as a result of your actions, and the victim may be less likely to seek revenge and or make the situation worse.
4. Be sincere. The victim is paying close attention to your motives and intentions, so you need to sincerely work hard to repair the harm from the event. Make every effort to show through your words and actions that you genuinely desire to earn the victim's trust again.
5. Make being trustworthy your daily goal – If there are few if any past trust violations, the chances for trust repair are better than in relationships with a history of trust violations or few trust-confirming events. Make it a priority to honor trust on a daily basis in order to make it easier for trust repair if needed again.
6. Restate and agree on expectations for the future, and be trustworthy in the future. You are likely to be on "probation" for a period, as the victim tests to see if you actually resume trustworthy behavior. Keep this in mind and take positive steps to by telling the victim exactly what they can expect from you. Then commit to following these standards in the future.
7. Reaffirm commitment to the relationship. Remind the victim of your shared goals and interests, as well as how much you value your relationship. Express your emotional attachment to the other party, and strive to demonstrate that the relationship is a top priority. You can re-gain your integrity and trustworthiness as you make obvious choices that show you care about the relationship more than your own self-interest.
8. Provide restitution/ penance(make it up to the person). Include in your verbal/ written apology the concrete actions you will do to show your good-faith effort to make up to the victim for the harmful effects of the violation. What the victim wants more than your kind words is something tangible (they can see, feel or touch), since they lost out on what they were counting on.


Tara - SanitySrchr said...

Mary, oh, Mary, oh, Mary!!! This is so incredibly fabulous!!!!! I want to print it out and post it in every room of the house. I very well just may do that (with permission, of course!).

marythemom said...

Thanks Tara!! It's something I cobbled together from some research on trust for Bear last year.

Feel free to use it!!


jaenkes said...

Wanted to share recent info we found:

Here's the info about scholarship money for foster kids or recently aged out foster kids. You should definitely pass it along or check into it! :)

The FCS/Casey Family Scholars application is available online at between January 1 and March 31 annually. Awards are $1500-$6000 based on a combination of things. Applicants are eligible if they were in foster care for one year at the time of their 18th birthday or high school graduation and emancipated or will emancipate from the system. They must be accepted into or enrolled in an accredited post-secondary school and working towards a degree or technical certificate. They must be under the age of 25 at the time the application closes (March 31 of the year in which they apply). Certain scholarships are offered to students who are true orphans and can provide both parents' death certificates. Some are available for adoptees and those in kinship care and under legal guardianship. Scholarships are renewable for six years or until graduation. Students must reapply every year. Please note this is a competitive scholarship as FCS receives more applications than can be funded. It's strongly suggested you go to and click on your home state to find out about the Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Program, a federal program which can offer up to $5000 annually in tuition assistance and money for approved living expenses to students out of foster care, attending accredited post-secondary programs. Students must have applied for the program BY their 21st birthday in order to be eligible, and funding is available until the day of their 23rd birthday. If you were adopted from foster care with adoption finalization after the age of 16, you are eligible for ETV. ETV is a first-come, first-served program, so apply early!

This is a form email that I have written for all information requests; so good luck to you or the young person/people on behalf of whom you made the inquiry and if you have further specific questions I will be happy to answer them personally.

Mary Imler: Scholarship Program ManagerFoster Care to Success America's College Fund for Foster
571-203-0270 phone

Johanna said...

This is great! I'm going to be sharing it with my kiddos - especially the one that doesn't really "get" apologies, but has to make a lot of them.