The R.I.S.E. Model (Relational Integrative Supportive Experiences)
Our family survived and thrived during our season of stress and isolation. Our way of life and our approach to helping our children, is based in Neuroscience. Our model provides a foundation and road map that transforms parenting. The stress of isolation necessitates that parents support building resilience and hope. RISE lays the foundation for a structured routine focused on relationship, self-regulation and resilience. The model provides simple-to-use tools to address complex challenges.
The RISE model offers a structure focused on meeting basic needs, supporting regulation, maintaining connection and providing positive, memory-building experiences. Our tendency is to structure each day around the things on our “to do” lists. This approach offers families a new set of priorities for the household. Putting the child’s self-regulation and resilience at the top of the “to do” list helps the family function better on a day to day basis and gradually builds tolerance and function. Children with lower resilience need predictability and reassurance from caregivers to feel safe. The traumatized child will require caregiver support to regulate brain states and areas of the brain associated with learning. Simply put, children with high trauma needs will learn best and sometimes only within the context of a relational experience. When my husband and I really leaned into that truth, our family became happier and healthier, and life got easier for all of us.
A goal of our model is to decrease chaos and help children build a tolerance for structure. Children with trauma-related needs require on-going support to do this. Behaviors that are perceived as defiance are often a natural adaptation to toxic stress experienced in early childhood or in-utero. Neuroscience tells us that trauma can cause a neurological need for higher stimulation (chaos) and a rejection or avoidance of structure. Children with trauma needs may create chaos in the external environment in order to match their (internal) brain states. When parents respond in kind, non-threatening ways, recognizing and understanding the child’s flight or fight threshold, they build tolerance, function and resilience. Understanding this principle was a HUGE part of my own parenting transformation.
Right now, we are all coping with stress and isolation. The valuable lessons my family learned back in 2006, have relevance for children with trauma-related needs today. We learned how to relieve stress and decrease uncertainty for our children. We also found that the strategies we used were helpful for all children (and the adults in the household)! This model transformed our family. We hope it can help your family to survive and thrive!