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

rlatkinson's picture

rlatkinson said:

With regard to discipline, one of the 1st things we try to do is talk about the incident with the child- try to have an understanding of his/her actions/behaviors/thoughts. Sometimes discipline will be a time-out for a few min to calm or removal of a privilege for a time- depending on behavior/reasoning.
SLBowman's picture

SLBowman said:

I personally feel, that when disciplining a child who has suffered trauma, you must have and show a lot of "PATIENCE and LOVE."
gingertwist's picture

gingertwist said:

be cool calm and collected. have empathy and compassion.
ssrieske's picture

ssrieske said:

This was very helpful. I can verbalize potential emotions my child may be having. Verbalize potential fears. Validate emotions. Give skills to cope
ToddSmith's picture

ToddSmith said:

Provide stability and time
MarieSmith's picture

MarieSmith said:

Give limits and have consistency and stability provide a safe place for them to feel.
gwayns's picture

gwayns said:

Be calm, be firm and remain consistent.
Jrsst97's picture

Jrsst97 said:

Be calm, provide positive alternatives to tantrums, coach the child in calming exercises, identify triggers and coping skills. Our three year old foster son has been with us for 2 years. He has had trouble with tantrums including throwing things like toys and dinner plates. Being consistent, firm but calm, and letting him know that he is loved no matter what has helped him control his behavior when he gets emotional. I could use some improvement identifying triggers and helping him work through triggers that are not avoidable.
castledwight's picture

castledwight said:

In the case of a child with a background of trauma, it is important to demonstrate a markedly different approach, namely by being calm and consistent. It is important to communicate clearly with the child about the issue of discipline and have a discussion about it. The child needs to feel safe and heard, as well as to understand what issue is being addressed.
stephcastle's picture

stephcastle said:

I would say the most important thing is to not do anything suddenly or angrily. Keeping an even tone of voice and getting down on their level (literally- not just with language) will help children to not feel threatened or respond in anger themselves. Discipline can be administered calmly and a discussion should be had about what went wrong and how it could be handled better in the future. It's also important to remind them that you are disciplining in love. Because you care about them, you want them to learn and grow from their mistakes.