Credit hours:

Course Summary

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being. These experiences range from physical, emotional, or sexual abuse to parental divorce or the incarceration of a parent or guardian. Many foster children have experienced multiple traumatic events in their childhood. It’s imperative that foster parents and other child welfare stakeholders be informed about how trauma impacts the children they care for.

In this course, you can expect to learn:

  • about the connection between adverse childhood experiences and health outcomes
  • how response to stress can impact child and adolescent development
  • features of trauma-informed services
  • the perspective of young people who have experienced trauma
  • ways that foster parents can provide trauma-informed support to children and youth

Step 1

Learn how childhood trauma unfolds across a lifetime from Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris in the video, How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across A Lifetime:

Step 2

Learn what trauma is, how young people respond to trauma, and how trauma-informed services benefit young people in foster care by reading the article, "Trauma-Informed Practice with Young People in Foster Care".

Step 3

Review the JBS International article, "Youth and Family Perspectives on Trauma-Informed Care" and learn how identifying trauma may help to overcome it.

Step 4

Review the Fostering Perspectives article, "Trauma-Informed Parenting: What You Should Know", to obtain valuable trauma informed parenting information. 

Step 5

Learn what the impact of untreated trauma has on a young person, understand your child’s behavior in reaction to trauma, and practical tips to help your child overcome trauma in the article "Parenting a Child Who Has Experienced Trauma".

Step 6

Join the discussion in the comments below to answer the following question:

How might a parent manage discipline differently for a child who has experienced trauma? You are encouraged to use a real-life example, if you have one (but please don't use any names in your story).

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Course Discussion

Jodadekyma05's picture

Jodadekyma05 replied:

I agree that knowing the child's trigger's will help to better understand the child, and allow one to build trust with him/her. Understanding the trauma will help you understand the child.
Jdevan19's picture

Jdevan19 said:

I had a child in which suffered physical trauma as punishment/consequence for a wide range of things the child do or didn't do. So, I implemented more of a positive behavior plan with rewards and positive reinforcement.
Jodadekyma05's picture

Jodadekyma05 replied:

I like yo use reinforcement when trying to get my child who has not been taught the importance of an education. When he does his homework and 10 stars we get rewards.
Johnnyb1's picture

Johnnyb1 said:

By being more aware of what upsets the child. In addition, assisting them in reducing overwhelming emotions
bjbelardi's picture

bjbelardi said:

How might a parent manage discipline differently for a child who has experienced trauma? I find that being patient while maintaining consistent boundaries is very helpful. Identifying trauma triggers and being emotionally and physically available are helpful too. Our eight year old grandson exhibits regressive behavior when triggered and goes into full fledged temper tantrums. He throws himself on the ground, wiggles and shakes his body, screaming the entire time. Other times he yells absolutes like "I'll never play outside again:" or "I'll never play with my tablet again". When he is experiencing these extremes, I have found the best approach is to send him to his safe place (his room) and not engage in any conversation until he calms down. Once he is calm he is able to join the family again. Other times we are able to identify a trigger and do some deep breathing together to help him calm himself before he is too escalated. Sometimes he is able to make the connections between his feelings/triggers and his resulting behaviors and other times not. We maintain a safe and loving environment and let him know that no matter what, we are always here for him.
Akholden3's picture

Akholden3 said:

We use time outs for our biological son (who has not been exposed to any trauma) but recognize that this approach might not be suitable for a child in our care who has experienced trauma of any kind - because the feeling of being alone could be a trigger
criada48's picture

criada48 said:

If you have a parenting partner, don't be afraid to 'switch out' when you need to. A child with behavioral challenges can be exhausting, and it's important to know when you have reached your limit and take a break for your sake and the child's. Also, don't expect yourself to be able to be both a parent and therapist for your child - get help when you need it. Your job is to love and to care for the child. Sometimes we need professionals, such as therapists, to jump in and help with the rest.
Darnell0714's picture

Darnell0714 said:

The parent should begin by watching behavioral patterns and triggers. For example, if loud noises is one of the triggers of trauma in the child, maybe raising your voice when trying to correct them is not the best form of discipline for that child.
Anastasius21's picture

Anastasius21 said:

A parent could manage discipline differently for a child dealing with trauma by first educating oneself on the topic of trauma. By understanding what trauma is, it can further equip you with the tools needed for the different situations that'll arise. I personally don't have any real life situations related to this topic as of yet; however, this entire course on trauma during childhood was very interesting and I can't wait to share the info with others.
riverreines's picture

riverreines said:

knowing the child's history is important is figuring out what might work, and what to avoid when helping a child learn right from wrong