Practical Tips for Disciplining Children Who Have Experienced Trauma


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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:
1. 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.

2. 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.

3. Reexamine Your Expectations

  • See your child for who she is.

4. 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.

5. Share Power to Gain Power

Specific Behaviors:

  • Tantrum
  • Name calling and teasing
  • Handle attention seeking behaviors.
  • Lying
  • Sexualized Behavior and Play

This podcast is produced by We are a national non-profit with the mission to strengthen and inspire adoptive, foster & kinship parents and the professionals who support them. Creating a Family brings you the following trauma-informed, expert-based content:
· Weekly podcasts
· Weekly articles/blog posts
· Resource pages on all aspects of family building

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