Parenting a child who has experienced trauma

Parenting a child who has experienced trauma

Dan Hughes


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Many children become looked after because they have experienced very difficult and painful experiences in their young lives that have a lasting impact on their lives.

This guide explores traumatic experiences and their effects on children at different stages of development. It provides expert knowledge coupled with facts, figures and guidance presented in a straightforward and accessible style.

An adoptive parent of twin boys describe what it is like to parent children who have experienced significant trauma and how this impacts their life as a family.

This book is part of CoramBAAF’s Parenting Matters series which explores many of the health conditions commonly diagnosed in looked after children.

Who is this book for?

A useful book for adopters, those thinking about adopting, foster carers, social work practitioners and all those involved in the care of looked after children. The combination of expert information and first-hand experience will help readers gain knowledge and understanding and make informed decisions.

What you will find in this book

The first half of the book examines what constitutes trauma in childhood, including its symptoms, prognosis and treatment. It outlines parenting tasks, addresses specific educational and social issues and answers a range of frequently asked questions.

In the second half, single adopter Matthew Blythe describes his experience of parenting twin boys who have experienced significant trauma and how this affected, and continues to affect, day-to-day family life.

The last eight years feel as though we have gone from crisis to another fallout to the next drama. I have coped with more than I ever thought was possible. But we are together. We are stronger. We are a team. I always wished I had written a diary to remember the stories, the happy and the sad, but whirlwinds don’t allow you time to think, hurricanes make you live from one moment to the next…Things have calmed over the years. There was no quick fix, and they certainly are not fixed. The screaming and rampaging have settled…The trauma, though, never, ever leaves them; we are still learning to live with that.’ Matthew Blythe


Dan Hughes:
For most of his professional life, Dr Dan Hughes has been a clinician specialising in the treatment of children and young people with severe emotional and behavioural problems. Working primarily with fostered and adopted children and their carers and parents, Dan borrowed heavily from attachment, intersubjectivity and trauma theories and research to develop a model of treatment that he calls Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) – also known as Attachment-Focused Family Therapy. Dan is the author of a number of books and articles, including his previous contributions to this series: Parenting a Child with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties (2012) and Parenting a Child who has Experienced Trauma (2016). Dan’s current passion is training therapists in his treatment model. He has trained therapists in the US, UK, Canada and other countries for the past 20 years. He also provides ongoing consultation and supervision to various agencies and clinicians. Dan has initiated a certification programme for therapists interested in his treatment model.