The changing care system…
August 27, 2019
High Structure/High Nurture
September 11, 2019

Learning to parent therapeutically is the single most important thing you can do to help your traumatised/attachment-disordered child.


We reported in our last blog that foster carers are increasingly looking after young people with complex needs and from traumatic backgrounds. We also mentioned that training has a key role to play in preparing our foster carers to cope with their presenting behaviours.


Therapeutic parenting is part of that kit bag and is the term used to describe the type of high structure/high nurture intentional parenting that fosters feelings of safety and connectedness, so that a traumatised child can begin to heal and attach.


At the Attachment Trauma Network, they have researched all the parenting strategies taught to parents of traumatised children and recognise that many parents find one particular strategy works better than another, or maybe works better during a specific developmental period, or for one child but not another. However, all successful therapeutic parenting programmes/training contain the following key components:

  • Focus on safety – actual safety of EVERYONE in the family, as well as “felt safety”. Often traumatised children do not feel safe due to what has happened in their past.
  • High structure/high nature in careful balance.
  • Connected parenting – therapeutic parents look under the behaviours to what they’re communicating. Being playful, curious, and trying to attune to your child are all connected strategies.
  • Intentional parenting – being purposeful about what you do and knowing why you are using a specific tool or strategy. Being intentional means having a plan in place and makes it easier to respond to your child and not react to behaviours.
  • Keeping a long-term perspective and practicing self-care. Therapeutic parenting is not for wimps! Our children often don’t heal quickly. We, therapeutic parents, have to be committed to this intense parenting for a long time, and that requires that we find ways to take care of ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually, so we have the energy to give to our children.


The overall goals of parenting in this intentional, therapeutic way are REGULATION & RELATIONSHIP. Or put it another way, the job is to “Calm and Connect”. If you would like to know more about parenting therapeutically, click here.

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