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Episode 123: Trauma-Informed Parenting: Building Connections With Your Child

By June 28, 2021January 3rd, 2023Podcast

Does your child ever just get on your last nerve? Have you had a meltdown of your own after a really hard day? Does it feel like your parenting techniques that have worked with other kids in your care just aren’t working anymore? As parents, we’ve all experienced this more times than we would care to count. When our kids have significant trauma in their past, and we have our own triggers from our past, it can make for a really challenging journey.

Ryan and Kayla North know firsthand what that is like! They have 10 years under their belt as foster parents and today they develop training and programs on childhood trauma. Join me as Ryan and Kayla share perspective shifts we need when raising kids with traumatic backgrounds, how our own childhood trauma may be impacting our relationship with our kids, practical ways to parent with connection as the primary goal, why we can’t care for our children if we’re not caring for ourselves, and so much more. This was such a rich episode, and I look forward to hearing what stands out most to you!


1. We all have healing to do.

It can oftentimes be easy to spot trauma in other people and in our kids. What’s difficult is recognizing the healing necessary for ourselves. We may not have experienced extreme forms of trauma, but we all carry the effects of our childhood with us. We need to first look at our own childhood and make sense of it before we can effectively support our kids in their trauma.

“If we don’t continue to do the work to make sense of our own histories, those are the things that are going to trigger us in relationship with our kids.

2. Set appropriate expectations.

It’s easy to slip into thinking that our child should be able to do “normal” things for a child that is twelve, five, or insert your child’s age. But in reality, setting appropriate expectations means that we can’t assume our kids were taught how to do something, or even are at a place that they fully understand the expectations we have of them. It’s important that we take the time to graciously show and teach our children something before we hold them accountable to it.

“If we haven’t taught it to them, we can’t expect them to do it.”

3. Connect with your child first.

When your kids first wake up, before you jump into the tasks and craziness of your schedule, take just five minutes to make a connection with your child. Sit down and talk about a story. Play a silly game. Laugh together. Sometimes as parents, we latch onto changing behavior, but we skip the connection necessary for a meaningful relationship. Kayla challenges us to set a timer for five minutes to create fun, laughter-filled connection with our child before we do anything else.

“What if I parented my kids in a way that let God know I’m grateful for the gift He gave me?”



We hope this episode has helped you wherever you are on your foster care journey. That’s the goal! If so, will you tell others?

Share this post or rate the podcast on Apple Podcasts (or wherever you listen) and leave us a brief review

Meet Our Guest

Ryan and Kayla North have 6 children, 4 of whom were adopted out of foster care. They have 10 years experience as foster parents and co-founded One Big Happy Home. Ryan and Kayla are experts on childhood trauma and developed training materials and programs for churches, schools, and fellow parents. Ryan and Kayla have had the privilege of working with some of the most respected voices in the fields of Developmental Trauma and Attachment including: Dr. Karyn Purvis, Dr. David Cross, Dr. Curt Thompson, Dr. Tina Payne-Bryson, Cindy Lee, and Jayne Schooler. 

Foster Parents, check with your agency to see if listening to this podcast will count toward your foster care training hours!

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