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

Lmcelheny's picture

Lmcelheny said:

Acknowledge and validate feelings and emotions in order to help promote a safe environment to develop appropriate coping skills.'s picture

mikenjulieclark... said:

we create a safe environment so they dont hurt themselves. sometimes you got to let it pass and let them calm down
heatherwood's picture

heatherwood said:

A way I manage discipline in children who have experienced trauma is to first calm them, then identify why the behavior is wrong and harmful. This has helped them not repeat the behavior rather than just telling them no.
Ginarc's picture

Ginarc said:

A parent might handle discipline differently by trying to understand what triggers the child or try to identify the emotion the child may be experiencing in the moment. EX: if a younger child is familiar with verbal or physical abuse and they do something wrong, they may be triggered by someone yelling at them. A parent can change this discipline to be a positive outcome by trying to explain to the child what they did that was wrong and how to correct the behavior in an even tone opposed to yelling and screaming while the child may not understand what they are being chastised for.
Clayboy's picture

Clayboy said:

Have them breath take a step back and reset.
Lena101's picture

Lena101 said:

Every child is different so you have to tailor the "discipline" to the child. My child has separation anxiety so we have "sit ins" where i sit with him not in time out.
mrsmbuchanan's picture

mrsmbuchanan said:

Being trauma informed is so key to helping to relate to a trauma kid and what might be the best plan for discipline. More often than not, the behaviors they are exhibiting are caused from their trauma.
Katrinacarter2443's picture

Katrinacarter2443 said:

Well I think there should be limited discipline for those children First off they may have been through some hard and rough times. Something's us adults may not have seen nor heard of. I think it's best to try and talk things out first to try and get a better understanding of what may have caused the behavior. I just think we have to take things easy and slow. No I'm not saying let them run things but be open, honest and most importantly understanding of why these things are happening what cause them to happen
Laurama's picture

Laurama said:

Building trust with the child is crucial, as well as demonstrating that the home is a safe space. Being mindful of the child's triggers and helping them cope with their experiences.
kbeebeem's picture

kbeebeem said:

Our foster child who was 20 months when coming into care had many triggers that startled her including dogs barking, garbage trucks, and loud noises. For a long time she was not able to self-regulate and we could not help her calm down. Through PCIT therapy, getting trauma informed, and OT therapy she now is able to self regulate and is not afraid of many of the things that startled her or made her go into fight or flight mode. We find that the change of season is always a trigger for regression.