How to Parent Babies and Toddlers with Post Trauma Symptoms?

by | May 15, 2015


Dakotah, age 4…

Parenting Children with Post Trauma Symptoms…  Quote from this handbook…

Trauma has more severe effects when…

  • It happens again and again.
  • Different stresses add up.
  • It happens to a younger child.
  • The child has fewer social supports(healthy personal relationships). 
  • The child has fewer coping skills (language skills, intelligence, good health, and self-esteem).


I was reminded this past week of how critical it is to recognize post trauma symptoms of toddlers and young children.  My sister’s grandson, Dakotah, pictured above, was exposed to toxic home circumstances as a baby and removed from the home of his mother.  The young child, now 4 years old, and in the care of foster parents, is showing symptoms of post traumatic stress.  He is not only living with the emotional challenges of experiencing trauma as a baby, but is purportedly living in a toxic and confusing world of figuring out where he should be and who he is…push and pull stresses.  He is consistently in a unhappy and highly emotional state of mind.  Acting out is becoming more frequent as he gets older.

It is often the case with foster children that the financial support connected with caring for the child gets in the way while biological parents and grandparents work toward regaining custody.  The best interests and health of the child can get tied up in the “system” causing delays in returning children to loved ones and family members who later meet the requirements for a loving and nurturing home environment.  My sister, the young boy’s grandmother, has been fighting for several years now to bring the child home while developing a close and loving relationship with her grandson.  The foster parents are apparently under investigation for alleged child abuse and maltreatment.  Consequently, my young great nephew is in the middle of emotional turmoil that can only worsen his post trauma symptoms.

I have profound empathy for the plight of this little boy, my great nephew, and so does my sister, his grandmother; since both of us know well what happens to children later in life when they carry the baggage of child abuse into adult life.  I have tried to provide moral and loving support to my sister during this time with a listening ear.  I wish there was more we could do to rescue this beautiful young boy and return him to his birth family.  These are the heart breaking stories that happen all over America because young children are caught in the middle of dealing with cash flow incentives for foster parents and a system of justice that is overwhelmed with cases of child abuse and maltreatment.

As a reference and example, click on this Los Angeles NBC News video clip to hear the stories of foster kids caught in a system of abuse driven by greed.   A lawsuit is pending surrounding a case against Rancho Cucamonga-based Interim Care Foster Family Agency, which recruited and supervised the foster parents.  This news story has no direct relationship to my nephew referenced above, but does reflect the circumstances of a broken foster care system.

I wish there was some creative way or new idea that could make a difference.  Feedback from my followers and reading audience would be most appreciated.

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 2… Click highlighted text for my author page…


About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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