Parenting Children Who Have Experienced Trauma
How can we parent our children who have experienced trauma. How can we discipline them in a way that will help them learn and grow. We talk with Karen Doyle Buckwalter, a clinical social worker specializing in attachment and trauma, and author of Raising the Challenging Child: How to Minimize Meltdowns, Reduce Conflict, and Increase Cooperation.
In this episode, we cover:
Impact of Trauma
- What is trauma?
- Trauma vs PTSD
- How does trauma impact a child?
- 3 levels of the brain and how many children are reacting from a primitive fear base if there’s a history of abuse or neglect.
- Does the age of the child when they experienced trauma or the type of trauma affect the degree to which the child will be impacted?
- If you can flee it lowers the incidence of PTSD
- Preverbal trauma- before they have language and memory
How to Best Parent a Child Who Has Experienced Trauma
- What is a typical behavior for a child who has experienced trauma?
- Internal working model formed with earliest caregivers that forms a template for future relationships with caregivers
- Children are terrified of being forgotten
- The children often “reject you before you can reject them.” This helps protect them from this core fear of rejection and is a primitive survival mechanism.
- MUST be aware of one’s own vulnerabilities and insecurities that may be triggered by caring for children with this history
- How to help our kids heal and attach? Tips and Techniques
How to Discipline a Child Who Has Experienced Trauma
- Connection before corrections
- Build up your relationship account
- Provide choices
- Provide a balance of structure and nurture
- The need for co-regulation with a safe adult rather than time out or other typical approaches.
- These things take time to change. Just because the child is safe now does not remove these well-worn neuropathways.
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Music credit: Michael Ashworth
Image credit: Hans Kretzmann