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Childhood trauma

FosterPandNurse's picture

Knowing the child and how they respond to discipline will be key to understand how to deal with their behaviors. Children dealing with trauma are often misunderstood because they often don't know how to act. Teaching them will be more effective when disciplining the child with trauma. Reminding them of past behaviors and consequences for example, last time you did this, you lost the Gameboy for the day, what will happen this time? The underlying issue should be addressed, if they are stealing why do they feel the need to steal. There is usually a reason behind why a child with trauma misbehaves. Redirection and teachings are often needed.

Hands Off Approach

trnelson45's picture

I feel disciplining involves a hands off approach with children. Listening to their issues, explaining the why you are in trouble, give different alternatives that could have been used to avoid trouble, teaching children how to accept consequences for their actions. This will bring a level of understanding and trust between you and the children. It has worked in my household.

Hands Off Approach

trnelson45's picture

I feel disciplining involves a hands off approach with children. Listening to their issues, explaining the why you are in trouble, give different alternatives that could have been used to avoid trouble, teaching children how to accept consequences for their actions. This will bring a level of understanding and trust between you and the children. It has worked in my household.

punishment or disciplne

vmburk's picture

I think it's important to assess the trauma behind the behavior first

Trauma

josegonzalez1011's picture

Understanding is the key, and we need to have patience and take time to realize that their trauma is not something easy to understand, but it is something that we can help them overcome.

Trauma

mariaguilen1011's picture

having patience is key, letting them know that you care and just trying t be there for them

Be fair and consistent

dmagill's picture

I think it is important to inspire the child to do better when punishing. Most children who have experienced trauma have most likely always been punished out of anger and not from a parent's desire to properly correct the child. Spend more time using positive motivation and be considerate and consistent when the time for punishment comes.

Each child is different,

Tricia49841's picture

Each child is different, sometimes you have to try many things before finding something that helps

I have seen several foster

Magnum's picture

I have seen several foster children that have been thru trama, each child is different and have different triggers from there trama they need to be told they are loved and that they are safe

Childhood Trauma

roxwhite123's picture

I think its essential to assess the situation before any disciplinary move is made. The parent needs to take time to understand what happened, why it happened, and determine what is the best support for the child in this situation. I find that it is often not a disciplinary issues at all, a child misbehaving, but that child's response emotional and behavioral response to a situation or trigger.

Discipline with Traumatic Past in Mind.

Cynthia1975's picture

Discipline could be a challenge or become a little difficult because of certain triggers. It's always better to have your foster child evaluated in light of their past so that you could be prepared in case of an emergency.

Don't Major on the Minors

brett2634's picture

With our son whom we adopted at age 6, it has been important to focus on just a few behaviors at a time. He has so much to overcome, nitpicking and disciplining him for "minor" offenses that most parents would not let their children get away with, only bogs things down and keeps the atmosphere so negative. So we have to let some things go until we have a better handle on more important issues, then we can address other issues at a later time. Often onlookers don't realize that is what we are doing, so we have to be ready for judgment from people who don't understand children from traumatic backgrounds.

Discipline

nathanhall22's picture

Disciplining a child who has experienced trauma is easier said than done. Parents should focus on being gentle yet stern. Expectations should be presented from the beginning and repeated frequently.We have used different strategies for disciplining. Our most common and effective form of disciple is removing the stimulus that is causing the issue.

Parenting Through Trauma

katelynhall22's picture

I think the best thing that my husband and I have worked through in parenting kids who've experienced trauma is realizing that the root of behavior has very little to do with me. Often outbursts, issues, and anger can be traced back to trauma. When I think through sitatuions, it takes the emotion (anger) out of disciplining. How I react to behavior will have a direct influence on subsequent behaviors.,

Discipline with Trauma

VMagill127's picture

I haven't had to deal with this much yet (not many placements and all respites) but I would take into consideration each child's history and try to respond rather than react like they suggest. Also things like time ins as opposed to time outs, just basically following a more connected approach.

Trama

WILLBLOOD55's picture

Listen and stay open to the needs

trauma

Mbloodworth's picture

Every situation is different, if they were isolated I would not put them by themselves for timeout I would stay close, if they were hit I would not use fast movements around the child. etc....

Disciplining a traumatized child

lworm's picture

Listening, being educated, and remaining patient are key factors in disciplining a child who has experienced trauma.

Learning

beverly40's picture

I have not had to deal with it but I'm thankful for the helpful stories. I know this is a learn process and cant image what some children may go through.

We are all new to this have

janehardy's picture

We are all new to this have had Foster kids for 8 months just starting to try and unravel behaviors, am learning a lot and have 2 very sweet ladies who come and teach us all on how to deal with kids who have gone through hell even though I thought they were way to young to remember what went on, reading through these articles I can so see the same behaviors being addressed. Makes me so sad but happy to see there is hope for my two just trying to help these two make it.

LOVE AND ALWAYS REMAIN CALM

amberbobst's picture

Know that most likely they are acting out in away that is associated with their trauma and that you need to have patience, love, and composure when dealing with any situation with the child. Educating myself as much as I can on traumatized children helps me with the process as a caregiver.

Positivity

jkfh2s's picture

I usually have infants. It was interesting to learn that even small babies can have sensory memories. I have learned that one of the best ways to discipline a child that has experienced trauma is for me to have great listening skills, and try to use positive reinforcement.

Helpful

Thehabeebs's picture

We have not had to deal with this yet but the more we read and are reminded, the more prepared we feel. Thank you everyone for your comments. They are helpful and give us hope that there is help out there.

Discipline and trauma

andidoll's picture

I think that it is important to be extra understanding, gentle and patient when dealing with children who have experienced trauma. If it seems that the situation is becoming to intense, better to take a break and a time-out (speaking about the adult, as well as the child) to breathe, relax, and approach calmly!

Discipline

tom18skiDecember303's picture

We usually only take on babies. Although there was a toddler that definitely had signs of trauma. She acted out often and required a lot of positive attention when she behaved rather than negative attention when she misbehaved. Used quiet language to get her to understand what she did without dwelling on her negative behavior.

Talking and Writing

SMaloney's picture

My own disciplinary experience is around talking and writing to work through problems. While it doesn't work for all age children I think helping a child express why they did something and how there are other options both verbally and in writing can help calm the situation down and give them a stronger language with with to communicate.

Consider Discipline in Light of Trauma, in Advance

Mark Goles's picture

Discipline, of necessity, usually has to be "in the moment". Being prepared with an understanding of trauma that your child may have experienced, and anticipating at least some common discipline situations, would help avoid known "triggers" (such as physical punishment's relation to physical abuse), ensure that you are disciplining from an understanding of the child's history, and allow you to react confidently and appropriately.

That said, for any kind of discipline, it's better to acknowledge and reverse a mistake, if you made one, rather than bulling through a poor disciplinary choice. In the case of traumatized children, a mistake may be really hard to anticipate, but it may be evident by an unusual or extreme reaction from the child. In our family, we usually find that creative disciplinary approaches work better anyway -- do-overs, ways that the child can help make up for an outburst, etc. Once a situation is no longer ongoing, we also find that not being in a rush to impose a consequence -- taking time to consider -- is important.

you're safe here

Paula McCarn's picture

our 8 year old foster daughter came to us with the able of being difficult. after learning her story we understood it was important for her to know she can "count" on us and she is safe in our home. at bed time we would tell her you are safe here and hold her hand unill she relaxed. she would have flashbacks and then act out we soon recognized the warning signs and helped talk her through it . the things she may need was just a simple hug. the simple statement of "you are part of this family"

you're safe here

Paula McCarn's picture

our 8 year old foster daughter came to us with the able of being difficult. after learning her story we understood it was important for her to know she can "count" on us and she is safe in our home. at bed time we would tell her you are safe here and hold her hand unill she relaxed. she would have flashbacks and then act out we soon recognized the warning signs and helped talk her through it . the things she may need was just a simple hug. the simple statement of "you are part of this family"

you're safe here

Paula McCarn's picture

our 8 yea old foster daughter came to us with the lable of being difficult. after learning her story we understood it was important for her to know she can "count" on us and she is safe in our home. at bed time we would tell her you are safe here and hold her hand unill she relaxed. she would have flashbacks and then act out we soon recognized the warning signs and helped talk her through it . the things she may need was just a simple hug. the simple statement of "you are part of this family"

you're safe here

Paula McCarn's picture

our 8 yea old foster daughter came to us with the lable of being difficult. after learning her story we understood it was important for her to know she can "count" on us and she is safe in our home. at bed time we would tell her you are safe here and hold her hand unill she relaxed. she would have flashbacks and then act out we soon recognized the warning signs and helped talk her through it . the things she may need was just a simple hug. the simple statement of "you are part of this family"

Don't leave me

aimeejn's picture

My first foster son came to me due to severe domestic violence. His behavior was very, very, difficult, aggressive, and very hard to handle. Shortly after he came to my home he went after my cat with a toy bat and started hurting her badly. I yelled for him to stop, took the bat away, and then left the room to tend to the cat and cool down before I went to talk to him. When I returned he was crying uncontrollably about why I left him. I quickly learned that he had not only been exposed to violent behavior, but he had been left alone often. When i disciplined him after that, I made sure to stay in the room even if I needed to "take a minute" for myself before dealing with the behavior.

We Are In This Together

rdande1's picture

As a foster parent, our success involving discipline of a child who has suffered trauma includes establishing trust and demonstrating commitment that you are with them every step of the way and you are not going to abandon them. Our child got to the point where she could not hold herself together at school or at home and we experienced several emergency psychiatric meltdown events at the hospital. Recovery included a 90 day in-patient stay in a treatment that has made a tremendous difference in her recovery. She is now back home with us, stable, growing, learning, and maturity. Her child development is back on track and we are very thankful for a team of doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, teachers, and case workers who served as a safety net to help this wonderful child.

Love in the hard times

spa4x's picture

It's very easy as a parent to quickly raise your voice, or use time out. However after being educated by what abuse does to a child, after they are in a safe home I've come to a different understanding. Letting the child work through the issue to start with. If they need to yell making sure they know once they are done, you are still there for them. If they need to be distant once they are feeling unsure of how to act that is also ok. I would think once they realize that its ok to be angry, sad or mad at times and you, as the foster parent are still there to show them love might be an good way to build trust in your relationship.

Love

SeanL's picture

When a child comes to our home that has experienced trauma we need to not take any behaviors personally and we need to be calm and understanding. I have a student who was always a challenge and hard to make friends with the rest of the class. My director told me the child was going through a divorce and right away I could see and understand and I was able to find ways to help the child to cope with what they were going through. Now a year later the child is doing better and I'm glad I knew of the child's story better on so I can see what he sees through his eyes.

Trauma

sfin74's picture

Every child is different so need to learn their story and experiences first and not judge in order to effectively learn what makes them safe.

Trauma and discipline

scohorn's picture

You can't be physical, that's for sure. The best thing I have found is using a reward chart. My foster child has REALLY thrived earning and rewarding, and responds very well to not getting those rewards or celebrations.

Childhood Trauma

smittyar's picture

You must remember what the child has been through and allow them to express their feelings by talking it out. Seek counseling/therapy if needed. Always remember to be patient and discipline with love.

Disciplining a child who has experienced trauma

jandcsmith2007's picture

When disciplining a child who has experienced childhood trauma it is important to be patient with them. You also must do so in a loving manner. Also, make sure the child is receiving services (therapy, counseling, etc., if needed).

Parenting littles

smulkey's picture

We are new foster parents and have only fostered infants and young toddlers. We have not used discipline with a foster child yet, but I have already noticed my parenting to be different with the foster children versus my own child as an infant/young toddler. For example, I am very quick to respond to cries, never allowing a "crying it out" time. I also have a carrier that I wear because we had one infant that would cry every time I left the room until he became more settled. I believe trauma can begin prenatally, especially in drug exposed infants, so no matter how young, the child needs to have their cries and needs met quickly to help them form healthy attachment.

Childhood Trauma

Davisa's picture

Patience, love, experience and training will help a child going thru trauma. Through different resources available in caring for a child and consistent love, there are ways to overcome.

Trauma and Discipline

Ankromfamily1's picture

I think having an open mind when it comes to disciplines and bad behaviors is important, as is understanding what worked for one child may not work for another. In our house, the rules are the same for all the kids, but the discipline can be different. I think it's important (in our family at least) that everyone understands everyone has to obey the same rules, even us as parents (we try to model polite talk, putting away our jackets, etc).

Discipline Techniques Are Different For Children Of Trauma

derekcbart's picture

During our classes to become Resource Parents my wife and I were told that it would be helpful to watch shows such as "Supernanny." These shows were very useful in many ways, but they never showed how to deal with disciplining a child who had experienced trauma. After our first two girls were placed with us we learned this. With the help of the therapy team that we put in place we learned to avoid traditional discipline techniques, such as: timeout, taking something away, etc. and replace it with techniques such as: earning of privileges, role-playing/story-telling, etc. The difference was dramatic.

Trauma

epowell's picture

I believe that everyone experience trauma in some form sometime in life it's life, but how you approach and react varies from situation. Being able to talk and have a understanding help everyone verse keeping thing bottled in to build up and over time ruin you. In conclusion trauma can come in many forms how you choose to handle it depends on you as a person.

Trauma Reminders

jncreech's picture

It is so important to remember that the aggression, withdrawal, acting out or retreating may be a way of survival for them. Talking through these behaviors even with a child with limited verbal capacity is helpful. This allows them to connect the importance of "using their words" instead of their behaviors.

For a few weeks after arriving at our home (his sixth placement in so many months) our 4 year old foster child would run and hide even at the thought that he was "in trouble". Moreso, he would hide his face behind his hands when we got close to him. After about 2 weeks, we realized and asked..."how come you run away?". After a little processing on quite a few occasions, he replied..."i dont want you to hurt me". After reiterating that we would never hurt him...we truly understood where this behavior was coming from.

Triggers, pre-planning and discussions

Ryanfontana's picture

We have always believed in pre-planning with our kids. Keeping our kids aware of the schedule of events and things happening so they can handle situations better. If we know there is a chance for triggers we discuss this with them if we aren't able to avoid or minimize them. Open communication is also something we strive for. If we can open communication lines and provide the trust then it is hard to help them through.

start off slow

abishop97's picture

I fine out having a note book helps me to remember when things happen and the when and how and what time. So when i go over the book I ask what was we doing at that time and how can we connet and the notes helps. trig ers are are to find and we must main tane control at all times

Proactively addressing behaviors

jessdamian's picture

My 6yr. FD regresses and uses baby talk when she is stressed. I simply teach her that I cannot understand that voice and if she needs something she will have to use her big girl voice. I also remind her every day to say to herself. "I am strong, I am smart, I am beautiful and I deserve the best".

Trauma

Miriammyers's picture

I think it is important that there is not only discipline but an explanation as to why the behavior is not appropriate or against rules, etc... Sometimes the children don't know any differently. I think an explanation also helps the child see that you care about them and want them to do well rather than strictly focusing on the punishment. I have also found that setting expectations before, an outing, new situation, or a situation you know the child is not comfortable with helps cut down on problematic behaviors and then less negative discipline.

Knowing your child and his

KCB's picture

Knowing your child and his/her triggers can be very beneficial to parenting a child who has experienced trauma. For example, I knew that my foster child had food insecurities in her birth home. She sometimes would act out when hungry because it would bring back times when she was left to fend for herself in regards to food. I knew that having regular mealtimes and snack times helped her feel secure and I knew to address the hunger before I addressed any misbehavior with this child.

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