How To Shift From Traditional Methods, When Parenting Children From Trauma

The Honestly Adoption Podcast-Season 7, Episode 63

Why don’t traditional parenting methods work with children who have experienced trauma?  Have you ever used physical punishment, verbal reprimand, loss of privilege, or isolation with your children? Don’t worry, we have too!  Many of us grew up with these “traditional” methods and it can be a struggle to adjust the deeply ingrained patterns of thinking, and give up this type of parenting.

This week on The Honestly Adoption Podcast, we are excited to share with you one of our exclusive “Backstage Pass” interviews from Oasis Community, our support and resource site for adoptive and foster parents.  In this interview, Mike gets honest with Ryan North as they discuss parenting methods better suited for children from trauma. Believe us, you will not want to miss this interview!

Listen Now:


Notes and Quotes:

What is “traditional parenting?”
  1. Physical punishment
  2. Verbal reprimand (yelling, lecturing, shaming)
  3. Loss of privilege
  4. Isolation (time-outs, separation)

“We have a compromised understanding of what discipline means… To discipline means to train them.”

“If part of their trauma has been physical trauma, you will not be able to establish a trust relationship with that child when you use physical punishment.”

How do we start to change our thinking?

First, we can recognize that all of these reactive parenting methods may alter and change behavior, but, ultimately, will not reach the heart and contribute to connection and healing.  Second, we can learn more proactive strategies for connecting with our kids that can lead to healing.

How do we re-vamp our parenting?
  1. Become the world’s leading expert on our child.
  2. Stop taking the child’s responses personally.
  3. Use Playful engagement/Calming engagement
  4. Use “We are in this together. I’m here to help you!” instead of “I’m in charge.”
  5. View “success” in terms of connection, rather than behavior.
  6. Understand where our child came from so we can have empathy for our child.
  7. Participate in Empowered to Connect Training
  8. Read about, reach out, learn, embrace, and practice connected parenting
  9. Learn to regulate our own emotional state
  10. Be consistent

“More children are driven to psychosis by their parents than by anything else.”  -Karen Purvis

What if you blow it?  Catch yourself, repair, and keep going!

This is a process, it is hard, and it’s messy but there is hope for healing as we retrain ourselves to think and act in new ways.  Over time, we can experience change in both ourselves and our children!

Ryan also shares some ideas for collaborating with schools and churches, teachers and coaches, in order to make safe spaces for all of our children, in every area of their lives.

“Trauma is not specific to adoption and foster-care.”

“You can ask for minor adjustments and most people are willing to accommodate.”

“If you go in crazy, with guns blazing, then what’s happening with your child gets lost.”

Resources and Links:

If you loved this interview, you can have access to all of our past, and future, monthly “Backstage Pass” interviews by joining Oasis Community. Enrollment will open up again on November 6th but as mentioned in the show, we’re giving our Honestly Adoption Podcast listeners special access for just $5 (first month enrollment). Listen in to the show for instructions on how you can gain access and take advantage of this special offer.

Ryan North and his wife, Kayla, have 6 children through both birth and adoption, and have fostered over 30 children. Ryan is the Executive Director of Tapestry, the adoption and foster care ministry of Irving Bible Church in Dallas, TX.  It serves to equip, encourage, and serve adoptive and foster families.  Ryan and Kayla are also lead Empowered to Connect Trainers.

Question: How have you struggled to make the parenting shift? Which new methods are you willing to try out this month? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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