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Changing the Game Plan

By Staci Thomas, TBRI® Practitioner

Everyone taking care of children has experienced a time when they felt frustrated, unsure of what to do. As caregivers, foster parents, and adoptive parents, changing your approach can make a big difference.



In the 2018 College Football National Championship, the University of Georgia faced the University of Alabama. At the start of the second half, Georgia was ahead by 13 points. Facing a such a big deficit, Alabama’s coach, Nick Saban, decided to do something unexpected: he replaced starting quarterback Jalen Hurts with freshman Tua Tagovalioa. Such an unusual decision in college football’s most important game of the year looked desperate. Turns out, that was exactly what Alabama needed to come from behind and win the championship by three points. 

Did Nick Saban just press on with the same game plan he started with, hoping that Alabama would start scoring? No! He changed the game plan. When Tagovalioa started the half, everything changed. The score changed. Georgia seemed confused. And Alabama’s energy changed dramatically. 

This provides a great analogy for us when we are parenting children from hard places. Often times we make parenting decisions that don’t seem to be working, but we press on in the same way, waiting for something to change. I often tell parents: “If it’s not working, change the game plan.” 

Bedtime a constant battle? Devise a new, different routine. 

Ready to pull you hair out because kids won’t stop whining? Walk outside with your child and tell them to “Throw their whines outside!” 

Dinnertime difficulties? Assign meal planning to the kids. 

Grades in school a problem? Find a tutor or request a teacher change. 

Teens too attached to their screens? Try a screen-free family activity that you’ve never tried before. 

Whatever the struggles are, instead of continuing on the path of what’s NOT working, think through what you could do differently in the struggle. Changing up your game plan just might help you come from behind and have victory over that parenting challenge you are facing right now. 


If you want more parenting tips geared towards families impacted by foster care, adoption, and kinship care, please visit our resource library. If you need personalized trauma-responsive care for your family, we would love to help! Contact us to learn more about the ways Chosen Care can support your family.
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