Trauma-informed parenting to help strengthen families at risk

Mother and son hugging and smiling while looking at each other

Trauma comes in many forms and can have lasting effects. No two circumstances are quite the same. Understanding trauma and how people respond to traumatic events can have a positive impact on parenting and the parent-child relationship, whether it was the parent or child who experienced it. Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada’s Stand Up for Kids Project is helping to build healthier, stronger, more empowered families through the delivery of two facilitated trauma-focused parenting groups: Trauma 101 and Parenting Through Trauma.

The programs include both parenting supports and culturally-relevant activities and the curriculum is structured to help participating parents to:

  • Gain awareness of the impact of trauma on parenting and family dynamics;
  • Improve competence and confidence in parenting skills;
  • Be empowered and to recognize and develop further personal resources and strengths;
  • Learn coping strategies through an educational, culturally focused format; and
  • Further strengthen their relationship with their children, extended family and supports.

Meet SERA*

Before attending the facilitated parenting groups, SERA struggled to believe that her emotions about her past traumatic experiences were justified. The group became a safe space, which allowed her to feel comfortable participating and sharing.

“I am naturally a shy person and in the beginning, I was very nervous and uncomfortable about fitting into this group because of [that],” she said. “But, I was wrong. I felt comfortable sharing my experiences, I participated in every session and enjoyed everything about this group.”

The group also provided her with an opportunity to be in a judgement-free zone, which deepened the experience for her.

“I related to the cultural activities, and especially being around other Black women who had similar experiences,” she reflected. “I did not feel alone, and I felt at ease.”

Through her participation, SERA began to feel that her past experiences were validated, and she learned how to strengthen her parenting skills to deepen her relationship with her child.

The Stand Up for Kids Project continues to break the barriers to a brighter future and create new possibilities for children and youth at risk of entering, growing up in, and transitioning out of the child welfare system. To read more stories of impact, click here.

*Name and visual identity have been protected.