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!
Friday, August 31, 2012
Books and Methods Review - Methods - The Trust Jar
The Trust Jar
Created by Aspenhall at punkrebelmama.blogspot.com
This is a visual, concrete way to
explain trust to a child. The trust jar
is a very visibly placed large vase filled with cotton balls, lima beans,
anything not intrinsically appealing. The vase should be mostly full, so if the
child is 6 and the jar was less than half full, the child would get the life of
a 3 yr old....constant supervision, no friends houses, or paints, or scissors
etc... If the jar is near full the child has full rights to everything a 6 yr
old can do....playdoh access, bike riding, friends’ houses, big kid books
In order to "gain trust points/balls", the child must meet parent’s expectations.
One point/ball per expectation met. If the child makes poor choices, they lose
points...but not just one at a time. OH NO, trust is EASY to lose FAST, but
very hard to gain back fast. Depending on the infraction, you may lose from 2
up to EVERY SINGLE BALL. The child never loses less than 2. Because trust is
twice as hard to earn once lost. Trust points are not tied to the parent’s emotions
unless the child is attached fairly well. (for example, "I'm disappointed
with your behavior, and you now lose 3 trust points/balls.")
For EVERY SINGLE request, the trust jar Is “consulted” to see where the level
is at. The response to any, "Can I..." privilege request is always,
"I don't know. Let’s go check the
The parent can buy items they
think the child would enjoy, HOWEVER, it is up to the child to decide if she is
trusted enough to receive the very cool items ( a 2 yr old cannot be trusted
with a DVD etc..). They go up on the shelf next to the trust jar until, or
unless, the jar is above half full, AND IF the child has not -lost- a SINGLE
trust point that day...which includes all of bedtime...the item of the child’s
choice is given ONLY the following day.
Marythemom: We used a variation of the trust jar for a short time,
to help my children understand in a visual concrete way why the amount of trust
(and responsibilities and privileges) in the house are not fair (ex. the
youngest child frequently got to spend the night at friend’s houses while the
older children were usually denied).
children of trauma, things that happened in the past are always quickly
“forgotten.” Most schools and programs
work with a “blank slate” philosophy that also fosters this. We are trying to encourage the learning of
concepts like restitution and accountability so we hold the child responsible
for their actions and use their behavior to make decisions regarding
responsibilities and privileges.
children were seeing this as me “holding a grudge” or loving another child more
than them (because the other, usually younger, child had privileges based on
their level of responsibility and trust rather than chronological age or that
day’s behavior. By removing trust beans
from the child’s jar when they did something untrustworthy they could see that
those beans did not automatically refill in the middle of the night, and kind
of understood the concept of “earning and losing trust” a little better.
We did not end up using this to determine
level of privileges based on age like Aspenhall did.
Jar - I also did a quick
very visual demonstration of something I called Love Jars based on our trust jar experiment. My kids
seemed to think that love was finite, that you could love people to varying degrees (I loved the other kids MORE than I loved them), and that love of another took away love from them (if I loved Bob then I couldn't love Kitty).
I took a vase and filled it about ¾ of the way full and told them that it
represented the love I had for my adopted daughter the day she moved in, based
on what I had read and heard about her, our weekend "getting to know you" meeting, and weekly
phone calls before placement. Then I
talked about the events of the following days, weeks and months (both positive
and negative!) adding a few beans for every event (whether positive or negative). Obviously the jar was quickly over
flowing. I did the same for her brother
Then I told the children
that the jar represented one of my bio children on the day they were born. I filled it full to the top. Then started talking about events from my
biodaughter’s life (positive and negative).
Obviously the jar was already full so beans went everywhere. The events I chose to bring up were pretty
funny (like the time she told me her little brother, “bit himself”… on the
cheek!). So this was just a silly demonstration
of the fact that I have the capacity to love more than one person, what they do
does not affect my love for them, and that I love them all truly, madly, deeply.