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

bunnyrn1's picture

bunnyrn1 said:

Patience, patience, patience and a mantra of " Don't take this personally, it is not personal even though it feels that way." It helps to remind myself that the behavior is a result of trauma, I can either help or hurt the child based on how I react.
jklickner's picture

jklickner said:

We adopted our daughter at 13 years of age. Discipline for her is way different than for a child that has not experienced her trauma. Rules had to be clear otherwise she would find a loophole. Consequences for not following the rules had to be fitting for the rule violation. Taking things away from her didn't really mean anything because she was used to having her things taken away from her (though she was delighted to find out that we return them...not sell them!!!). An angry tone of voice could send her into a meltdown. So keeping a flat affect was best. We also used natural consequences whenever possible!!
Dycie_r's picture

Dycie_r said:

Discipline for a child who has experienced trauma needs to be consistent, fair or fit the crime/behavior, and also a teachable moment. In some instances, the child has never been disciplined for things that he/she does and doesn't realize that it's not ok. This is where being consistent comes in as well as making discipline a teachable moment.
epowell's picture

epowell said:

Trauma comes in many different forms so our approach comes in different forms also. I believe that it’s very in when it comes to discipline. In my house for instance if my children are disagreeing to the point I have to intervene I make them hold hands until I feel like they ready. There are so many ways to discipline youth without being abusive in anyway.
eehart's picture

eehart said:

I hope some day we can all recognize mental health as "brain" health. Too many don't believe in these actual physical impacts on the brain from trauma!
Lacilogan11's picture

Lacilogan11 said:

I felt like this section was especially informative for me regarding our younger two children, i see several trauma responses that they have shown now that im reading more up on them. Our 5 year old does a lot of attention seeking behavior, trouble sitting still and focusing and a hard time looking you in the eye for more than a second. I feel now that i am better informed i will try to start being more intentional on using patience, not raising my voice and trying to understand them more. I hope that i am able to help them work through the trauma they have experienced and not add to it in any way.
sharonwiggins's picture

sharonwiggins said:

I have adopted three brothers who were severely abused. They have all dealt with their traumatic experiences in their own way. I has been a learning experience for my husband and I to get in toon with each of them and their specific needs. They all respond different and keep us on our toes.
dmkiser75's picture

dmkiser75 said:

I think the most important thing is to remain calm and patient. Do not react, respond and maintain your cool.
deleon521979's picture

deleon521979 said:

Children who have experienced trauma must be handled calmly and with patience. You do not want to inflict any more harm with discipline that will cause more trauma.
jkatkinson's picture

jkatkinson said:

Discipline in our home revolves around calmly but firmly interacting with the child; talking with him/her abt what was/was not done & why. We also reassure the child we love him/her but do not like the behavior.