Parenting a traumatized child is very challenging and requires a more focused, trained approach than parenting emotionally healthy children. Traumatized children frequently show signs of emotional delay, often acting much younger than their chronological age. Behaviors can range from being withdrawn and non-responsive to aggressive and violent. Responses to typical parenting techniques, such as time out or removal of privileges are often surprising, and parents’ frustration to the child’s opposition can inadvertently cause the behaviors to escalate.
The most important thing you can do to help your child heal is arm yourself with tools and training, and seek to understand the causes behind your child’s behaviors. ATN recommends that you find an experienced trauma-sensitive, attachment-focused therapist to work with your child and your family. But, therapy is only part of the answer. Since you are the person with your child every day and the person to whom your child should bond, it is imperative that you receive the training and understanding of the effects of trauma on attachment and what to do to help promote safety and trust for all family members. We suggest that you proactively educate yourself in therapeutic parenting strategies and techniques. You can learn this specialized parenting by:
- Attending conferences, workshops, and seminars, including ATN’s online seminars.
- Reading books about attachment & trauma. See ATN’s reading recommendations.
Joining ATN and one of our Online Support Group for 24/7 access to peer-to-peer support and coaching.