Parenting a traumatised child whilst living through COVID-19

Published: 25th Mar 2020

Clinical Psychologist Dan Hughes and Child Psychotherapist Sarah Morse discuss parenting and caring for children who have experience trauma during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

In the video below Dan Hughes, a Clinical Psychologist and Founder of Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy – DDP, and Sarah Morse, Child Psychotherapist & DDP Consultant/Trainer, offer a message solidarity with adoptive parents and foster carers. ­­They acknowledge the unique additional challenges faced by parents, carers and their children, as a result of the pandemic.

Developmental trauma

We know that children with early histories characterised by fear, mistrust, chaos or uncertainty, can really struggle at times of change and transition.  The current situation with Covid-19 is unparalleled in our living memories and will create a huge amount of anxiety for us all.

About the video

Dan Hughes is a Clinical Psychologist and Founder of Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy – DDP.

In this video, Dan & Sarah reach out and recognise the additional stresses and challenges that many care experienced children, young people and families may be facing right now.  

They talk about:

  • the additional challenges that not being in school, social isolation and disconnect from our support networks may bring
  • the challenges that uncertainty, changes in routine, and lack of structure can create, and the importance or re-establishing routines and family rituals
  • the importance of comfort & soothing - maintaining social and relational connection, even at distance
  • the importance of working to regulate our own anxiety and looking after ourselves, so that we can continue regulate and support our children
  • the helpfulness of maintaining an attitude of ‘PACE’
    • Playful – finding moments of lightness and joy
    • Acceptance – for how things are and the fact that it is difficult right now
    • Curiosity – for what we might need to help us make sense of this and find a way through it
    • Empathy – for ourselves and for others
  • the importance of storytelling as a way to talk to children about what is happening, and also as a way to make sense of things for ourselves and each other
  • how none of us are super-human, especially during periods of high stress. At times we will struggle, get upset, or make mistakes
  • the importance of reaching back in to each other with repair

­Watch the video

Further support

Read our latest COVID-19 news for foster carers

Foster carers can now send their COVID-19 related questions to: 

Visit our COVID-19 support page for adoptive parents

Adoptive parents can access our Adoption Support Duty Line is available as usual by emailing:

  • Monday–Thursday: 9am–5pm
  • Friday: 9am–4pm

Birmingham Children’s Trust Out of Hours Emergency Duty Service0121 675 4806