Understanding My Child’s Behavior

Understanding My Child’s Behavior

This section of the portal focuses on behaviors that children who have experienced trauma may exhibit, explaining where these come from and how they can influence the biological aspect of the body.

Balados & Podcasts

The Brain Architects Podcast

Harvard University

The Brain Architects is a new podcast that focuses on the specific, practical questions that often arise during the critically important period of early childhood. Bringing together experts and practitioners from pediatrics, social services, and education, among other disciplines, the podcast gathers many different voices that aren’t always speaking directly to each other. The Brain Architects can help all of us can use the science of child development to improve the lives of the children we interact with every day.

- Created by the Center on the Developing Child.

Everybody Hates Me: #Metoo, Stigma and Sexual Violence Disclosure

Created by Dr. Ramona Alaggia and Dr. Carmen Logie.

In this episode they talk about stigma around sexual violence and how this impacts sexual violence disclosure experiences (and decisions of whether or not to disclose) as well as the intersectional impacts of stigma on who is believed (and who is not) in disclosing sexual violence.

Everybody Hates Me: Children’s Mental Health Stigma & Embracing Our Emotions

Created by Dr. Angelique Jenny and Dr. Carmen Logie.

In this podcast, they discuss how stigma is a barrier for children and adolescents accessing early interventions for mental health--despite its potential to change the trajectory of their lives. Mental health stigma contributes to bullying and social isolation of children, and blaming of parents. We discuss stigma, fear, stereotypes and misinformation toward parents and families with children with mental health issues.

Books & Articles

The Role of Healthy Relational Interactions in Buffering the Impact of Childhood Trauma

Created by the Child Trauma Academy.

This article, written by Bruce D. Perry and Christine R. Ludy-Dobson, provides information on how the role of healthy relational interactions can buffer the impacts of childhood trauma.

Guides & Fact Sheets

Parenting a Child Who Has Experienced Trauma

This fact sheet discusses the nature of trauma, its effects on children and youth, and ways to help your child. By increasing your understanding of trauma, you can help support your child’s healing, your relationship with him or her, and your family as a whole.  

- Created by Child Welfare Information Gateway.

How Do We Understand the Behaviours of Youth Who Have Experienced Trauma?

The Iceberg Model

This article provides information on the origin of the behaivors of traumatized youth through the iceberg model, presented in the book ''10 questions sur le trauma complexe chez l’enfant et l’adolescent : Mieux comprendre pour mieux intervenir'' (10 questions on complex trauma in children and adolescents: Better understand to better intervene; Éditions Midi trente). This model illustrates what may be "underneath" the behaviors of youth, demonstrating the importance of intervening appropriately with this specific population.

- Created by Marie-Ève Grisé-Bolduc.

Parenting After Trauma: Understanding Your Child’s Needs

Created by Healthy Children.

This page provides information on how early, hurtful experiences can cause children to see the world differently and react in different ways. Some children who have been adopted or placed into foster care need help to cope with what happened to them in the past. Knowing what experts say about early trauma can help you work with your child. 


What Is Attachment Theory? The Importance of Early Emotional Bonds

Created by Very Well Mind.

This page, addressing attachment theory, focuses on relationships and bonds (particularly long-term) between people, including those between a parent and child and between romantic partners. Children diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD), or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) frequently display attachment problems, possibly due to early abuse, neglect, or trauma

Child Development and Trauma

Created by the Victoria State Government.

These fact sheets provide guidance about child development and trauma, grouped by age, as well as possible indicators of trauma and trauma impacts. 

Behaviour Approaches for Children and Youth With Disturbances of Attachment

Created by the Child and Parent Resource Institute (CPRI).

​​​​​​This page provides a better understanding of the challenging behaviors that children who have experienced trauma may exhibit as well as alternative interventions that can be put in place. 


Co-Regulation Boats

This image illustrates how the support of the significant adult with the child enables co-regulation.

- Created by Kristen Wiens.

Brain Architecture: Early Experiences Build Brains

These infographics provide information on the way experiences we have in the first years of our lives also affect the physical architecture of the developing brain. Contrary to popular belief, the structure of our brains as they develop in early childhood is determined by more than just our genes. 

- Created by the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative.

How Trauma Can Impact Your Window of Tolerance

Created by the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM).

The window of tolerance is a concept originally developed by Dr. Dan Siegel, MD to describe the optimal zone of “arousal” for a person to function in everyday life. When a person is operating within this zone or window, they can effectively manage and cope with their emotions. For people who have experienced trauma, it is often difficult to regulate emotions and the zone of arousal where they can function effectively becomes quite narrow.

Mapping Your Nervous System’s Response to Trauma

Created by the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM).

This infographic addresses how your nervous system responds to danger. According to polyvagal theory, the nervous system has three pathways it can follow in the face of a threat. By helping clients map these pathways, they can begin to identify their triggers and develop strategies for staying grounded.

What Happens in the Brain During Trauma?

Created by the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM).

This infographic explains how, after trauma, children are often left with many painful sensations and emotions including shame and guilt, and that’s especially true if they weren’t able to protect themselves or escape. It thus focuses on why it is useful to understand how their brain and body did work to protect them during the traumatic event.

Complex Trauma: The Triggers

Created by Geneviève Salvaille and Lucie Thivierge.

This infographic gives a better understanding of how different external elements can activate traumatized children's alarm systems.

Complex Trauma: A New Lens

Created by Geneviève Salvaille and Lucie Thivierge.

This infographic offers a new insight into children's behavior, illustrating the different reasons for their reactions.


Hamilton Health Science Courses and Workshops

Created by McMaster Children’s Hospital.

​​​​​​These free and online educational courses and skills training workshops provide information on a variety of topics, including parenting, child development and child and youth mental health concerns. Programs are available for children, youth and caregivers.

Videos & Webinars

Dr. Bruce Perry: Children Act Out Because of Trauma

In this video, Dr. Perry explains the common reactions in children who have experienced trauma so parents, teachers and service providers may understand their reactions and behaviours.

- Created by Super Soul - Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

Why Normal Parenting Doesn’t Help: How Complex Trauma Changes the Brain

Does your child respond in unpredictable ways? In this short video with Dr. Chuck Geddes, explains how complex trauma changes the brain, and therefore how children behave. 

- Created by Complex Trauma Resources.


Understanding Complex Trauma Behaviours With Dr. Kirk Austin

When children act in disturbing, disruptive, aggressive, fearful or controlling ways, our interventions depend on the meaning we assign to the behaviour. Is the child being manipulative, oppositional, or unmotivated? Or perhaps there is something else going on? In this video, Dr. Kirk Austin deeps your understanding of the ways in which complex trauma impacts seven developmental domains, and highlights effective intervention strategies.

- Created by Complex Trauma Resources.

Making Meaning of Attachment: Learned Patterns of Giving and Receiving Care Tell the Story of Mental Health in the Early Years

This panel, presented during the 2022 Trauma Symposium, mentions the way relationship patterns between infants and caregivers develop very early and together determine security. The questions of how the attachment pattern evolves, along with protective and risk factors, as well as how mental health develops in infancy and in the early years, are addressed.

- By Mary Rella.

YourSpace Hamilton - FamilySpace Youtube Channel

This Youtube channel offers multiple parenting webinars to help and inform parents and caregivers on different topics, including anxiety in children and youth, understanding ADHD, managing routines, and more.

- Created by YourSpace Hamilton and Hamilton Health Sciences.