Practical Tips for Disciplining Children Who Have Experienced Trauma

How do you discipline kids who have experienced trauma? We provide 5 tips and then discuss 5 challenging parenting situations. Our expert is Karen Doyle Buckwalter, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Registered Play Therapist and Supervisor, and co-author of “Raising the Challenging Child”.

In this episode, we cover:

  • The Relationship Bank Account
    • Spend effort building your relationship with your child so that you have banked “good will” for when you need to say no or set a firm rule.
    • ideas for making quick and easy deposits:
      • Praise efforts, successes, helpfulness, their unique essence—big and small.
      • Let the child choose whenever possible.
    • Look for compromises.
    • Make more deposits than withdrawals.
    • Magic “rule” 5 positive comments to every 1 negative.
      • Difference between making a deposit and spoiling your child.
      • Sideswipe instead of confront.
  • Respond to What is Beneath the Behavior
    • Behavior is a reflection of a need. It’s a symptom.
    • Strategies for digging deeper into what is underneath the behavior.
  • Reexamine Your Expectations
    • See your child for who she is.
  • Balancing Structure and Nurture
    • How does structure lead to feelings of safety and why is this often misunderstood when parenting children with a history of trauma?
    • Choose your battles: choose to ignore some behaviors.
  • Share Power to Gain Power
    • Specific Behaviors:
      • Tantrums
      • Name calling and teasing
      • Handle attention seeking behaviors.
      • Lying
      • Sexualized Behavior and Play

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Music Credit: Michael Ashworth

Image Credit: Lee Murry