Young Dads

Young dads can be great fathers. You are young, fun, and have lots of energy (sometimes). This is a great time to get involved in your child’s life. You can support your baby’s mother emotionally throughout the pregnancy, perhaps attend prenatal classes or Dr. appointments if she would like you to be there. There are a lot of ways you can be part of this baby’s life.

  • Go to prenatal classes with your child’s mother
  • Attend Dr. appointments
  • Join your child’s mother in making healthy choices
    (quit smoking, eat well, etc)
  • Share financial responsibility

Once your baby is born, there are many different ways to be a father to your child. No one way is better than the others. They all contribute to the development and well-being of your child. Like most things in life, it is normal to be nervous at first, but it gets easier with practice. Take this quiz to examine the different ways you can be a dad to your child.


What Type of Dad Will You Be?

Check which applies to you…then read underneath about what type of father a child needs. (Adapted from Involved Fathers) This will probably give you ‘food for thought’ about some things you may never have considered were important in the life of a child. Your relationship with your own father may influence how you see yourself as a Dad.

I can…

  • Provide food for my child
  • Provide clothing for my child
  • Provide shelter for my child
  • Contribute financially

Provider Father

This used to be the traditional role of the father. Nowadays, many mothers as well as fathers provide financially for their children. Working at any job helps contribute to the family’s economic well-being.

I can…

  • Be around my child often
  • Play with my child
  • Demonstrate values in my culture to my baby
  • Expose my child to my religion
  • Allow my child the opportunity to interact with others
  • Help my child see others interacting around them


Interactive Father

Kids learn communication skills, social rules and values by interacting with their parents and by watching their parents interact with others. They need to be played with, talked to and made a part of our world.

I can…

  • Hold my child
  • Comfort my child when he/she is crying
  • Change diapers and give baths
  • Help feed my child


Nurturing Father

Babies need to be held, stroked and touched in order to develop normally. You are helping them feel good on the inside and develop normally when you do all the things listed above.

I can…

  • Hug my child
  • Smile and make faces with my child
  • Kiss my child
  • Reassure my child when he/she is upset


Affectionate Father

You are your child’s first relationship, it is important to fill this relationship with love and warmth. Warmth is also expressed in the way in which you talk to your children and play with them.

I can…

  • Provide a safe home
  • Help supervise my child
  • Get my child to the appropriate medical care when needed
  • Foster my child’s interest in the world


Responsible Father

You are your child’s first teachers. Protecting and teaching shows guidance on what to do and what not to do.

I can…

  • Think of my child when I am away from him/her
  • Talk about my child with friends and family
  • Show commitment through my words
  • Show I will always be available to my child through different gestures.


Committed Father

Kids need to know that they belong and are important to you. No matter what you may be doing, you are always aware you are a father.



Article courtesy:

Developmental Trauma: Children & Youth

“How we are introduced to the world is how we are introduced to ourselves. If the world we are living in is highly chaotic or neglectful, unloving, or otherwise harmful or unstable, then we tend to turn that inward.” -Ally Jamieson, MSW

Trauma can occur at any point in an individual’s life, but as Ally Jamieson, MSW suggests, trauma experienced during adulthood and trauma experienced during childhood are generally interpreted and dealt with in different ways. In our latest Voices of Family Podcast, entitled Developmental Trauma: The Science Behind Supporting Children&Youth, we speak to Ally whose academic focus on the relation between trauma and brain development places her at the forefront of expertise on this issue.

As Ally discusses in the podcast, the primary difference between how children and adults frame traumatic experiences in their mind is that adults are able to draw from previous experiences in order to make sense of the traumatic event that took place, while children are not. Adults already have the developmental circuitry in place to make sense of a situation. They have a pre-defined reality.

Children, on the other hand, do not. Children’s brains are structurally and functionally different to adults’. They experience trauma as relational distress that is ongoing in nature and if multiple traumatic events occur over the course of their childhood years, it becomes their own personal reality. They have no reference point from which to examine these negative events and subsequently work through them.

Continual traumatic experiences are tied to what is termed the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal axis or the HPA for short. The HPA axis is the primary stress response system of the body. Every time an individual goes through a stressful, traumatic event, the HPA axis releases hormones into the bloodstream that are associated with the “Fight or Flight” stress response. These hormones include, but are not limited to, cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine, etc. If these hormones are released often, and on a long-term basis, they can compromise the capacity of certain brain structures to develop.

But, according to Ally, it isn’t all bad news; in fact, the brain is quite remarkably resilient. By utilizing the techniques that Ally outlines in the podcast, it is possible for professionals working with children and youth who have experienced developmental trauma to teach them how to live a mindful lifestyle while being able to self-regulate their emotional responses.

Adverse experiences can affect brain structure and genetic expression, but so can positive experiences! Replacing negative experiences with positive ones can help to catalyze the healing process in youth who have dealt with developmental trauma.

Article courtesy
By: by Cara Hykawy
Communications Assistant


What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a major trauma. Children and teens with PTSD can have a number of symptoms after a trauma that fall into three categories:

  1. Reliving the trauma in some way.
  2. Attempts to avoid anything that reminds the child or teen of the trauma.
  3. Very high anxiety (also called “hyperarousal”) and being easily startled. Children and teens with PTSD usually have some symptoms from each of these categories.

Key Points:

  • Although 15 – 43% of children will experience a traumatic event in their lives, many of them will not develop PTSD.
  • The chance of developing PTSD increases with the severity of the trauma. For example, almost all children who are sexually abused or who witness the death or assault of a parent will later suffer PTSD.
  • Children with PTSD may experience other problems as well, including depression, other anxiety problems, or acting-out behaviors. In teens with PTSD, substance abuse problems are also common (for example, drug or alcohol use).




The Story of 13-year-old Eric
Eric is a 13-year-old boy who was always very outgoing and had lots of friends in school. About a year ago, he dropped out of soccer and karate lessons, even though he used to love both activities. He started staying at home after school instead of seeing his friends, and arguing with his mom about going to school. Eric also started calling his mom many times on her cell phone whenever she left the house.

Eric’s problems started after a trauma he experienced about a year ago. While driving to the mall with his mom, a car ran a red light and hit the side of their car. Eric’s mom’s car spun several times and hit a tree. The driver of the other car suffered a serious head wound. Luckily, neither Eric nor his mom were hurt. Eric said that he could still remember what the man in the other car looked like with blood trickling down from his forehead to his face, “like a color picture in my head”.

After the accident, Eric was terrified of being in cars. He was even afraid of walking down the street, saying that there are “crazy drivers everywhere”, and he was worried that he would get hit by a car. When he does leave the house, he insists that his mom come with him, and he becomes very anxious when she is out of his line of sight. Eric also has nightmares about car crashes, and he says he keeps having thoughts pop into his head about the accident. He gets very anxious when he hears a car horn honking, or if he sees a news article about car accidents. He no longer watches the news or TV shows that contain any violence.

The Story of 6-year-old Lucie
Lucie is a six-year-old girl who has been living with her grandmother for about six months. She often has violent temper tantrums “for no reason,” and gets into fights with other kids at school. She has started wetting the bed at night, and her grandmother found some violent drawings in her room (for example, people being stabbed and shot). Lucie used to live with her mom, but about six months ago her mom and her mom’s boyfriend got into a violent argument, and Lucie’s mom was killed. Lucie was hiding under the bed at the time, and witnessed her mom’s death. She went to stay with her grandmother after this happened. Her grandmother describes Lucie as sullen and withdrawn. She refuses to talk about what happened to her mom, but she seems to act it out when playing with dolls or drawing pictures. She has frequent nightmares about “monsters” chasing her. Lucie has no friends, does not want to play any sports or learn a hobby, and pleads everyday to stay at home from school and play alone in her room instead.

What Kinds of Trauma lead to PTSD?

There are many different types of traumas that can later lead to PTSD in children and teens, but what they all have in common is:

  1. The trauma was life-threatening or lead to potential or actual serious injury.
  2. The child or teen reacted to the trauma with intense fear, helplessness, or horror.

Children and teens can develop PTSD if they have been directly involved, or witnessed a serious traumatic event. Some common traumas include:

  • Being involved in, or witnessing, a car accident.
  • Undergoing major surgery (bone marrow transplant, extensive hospitalization, severe burns).
  • Experiencing or witnessing natural disasters (earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, fire).
  • Violent crimes (kidnapping, physical assault, assault or murder of a parent or loved one).
  • Community violence (attacks at school, suicide of a friend, family member, or a child in the same-age group).
  • Chronic physical or sexual abuse.


In order for a child or teen to be diagnosed with PTSD, they should have at least one symptom from each of the three symptoms categories.

1. Symptoms of reliving or “re-experiencing” the trauma

Upsetting memories about the trauma; which usually involves having repeated, vivid images about the trauma. For example, a child or teen who was involved in a car accident may keep remembering the image of blood on a parent’s face. Young children may show this symptom by engaging in repetitive play. That is, playing games that involve themes of the trauma (for example, drawing pictures of cars crashing, or playing with toy cars and having them crash into each other).

Nightmares about the trauma. In young children, the nightmares may not be about the trauma itself (e.g., the car accident). Instead, they may have nightmares about monsters chasing them.

Acting as if the trauma were happening (“reliving the trauma”). This can sometimes be a “flashback,” where a child loses touch with the present moment, and speaks and acts as if the trauma were happening now. Young children with this symptom will sometimes engage in trauma reenactment, where they play out certain parts of the trauma. For example, if a child were trapped in a car, he or she might pretend being trapped in a small space (a box, a closet) while playing.

Anxiety when reminded of the trauma. Children and teens with this symptom may become very anxious (cry, temper tantrums) when they see or hear reminders of the trauma (for example, being in a car, or hearing a car squeal its tires).

2. Symptoms of avoidance

  • Avoiding reminders of the trauma. Children and teens with PTSD often try to avoid anything that reminds them of what happened. Reminders can include:
    • Circumstances (the actual date of the event, clothes worn, place where the event occurred).
    • Things associated with the trauma (e.g., being in a car if the trauma was a car accident).
    • General signs of danger (TV shows about violence, news, sirens, school alarms).
    • Discussions related to trauma (e.g., hearing a conversation about a car accident).
  • Forgetting (amnesia) parts of the trauma. Some children and teens with PTSD may forget parts of the traumatic event, or be confused about the timeline of the trauma.
  • Reduced interest in previously enjoyed activities. After a trauma, some children and teens may stop seeing their friends, or drop out of social activities they used to enjoy (such as dropping out of sports teams).
  • Feeling detached from others/feeling numb. Some children and teens with PTSD may show little emotion after a trauma, and choose to isolate themselves from others. Younger children are often unable to express “feeling numb”, and are more likely to simply isolate themselves from others and avoid talking about how they feel.
  • Very young children will sometimes regress slightly in their normal development. For example, a child with PTSD may become less verbal, or begin thumb sucking (after having already stopped) or bed-wetting.


3. Symptoms of high anxiety or “hyperarousal”

  • Sleep difficulties. Many children and teens with PTSD have problems falling or staying asleep, which is usually the result of feeling highly anxious all day.
  • Anger outbursts. After a trauma, some children and teens with PTSD have a hard time controlling their anger. This can include impatience, yelling, temper tantrums, or even hitting.
  • Concentration difficulties. After a trauma, some children and teens have difficulty concentrating on daily activities (for example, paying attention in school).
  • Hypervigilance. Children and teens with PTSD are often “on guard” or “on alert” all the time. Thus, they are easily startled, often jumping at the slightest sound or potential threat (for example, the school bell going off, the telephone ringing).


How do you know if your Child or Teen has PTSD?

Obviously, there are many symptoms of PTSD, some of which can be seen in children and teens without PTSD. For example, it is not uncommon for children or teens to have sleep problems, angry outbursts, or nightmares. There are two ways that you can determine if your child has PTSD:


Tip #1: If your child’s symptoms only started after a traumatic event and were not already present, then he or she may have PTSD.

Tip #2: It is normal to be very anxious immediately after a trauma. But over time, those anxious feelings should settle down. If your child is experiencing symptoms of anxiety for over one month after the trauma, he or she might have PTSD.


What can PTSD look like in very Young Children?

Very young children may not have many symptoms of PTSD. Instead, they may show their anxiety in the following ways:

  • Fear of strangers.
  • Fear of family members.
  • General avoidance of situations that are not related to the trauma (for example, avoiding going to school, going out in public).
  • Traumatic play; re-enacting parts of the trauma in their play (drawings, acting out).
  • Regressive behavior (thumb sucking, bed-wetting).


What can PTSD look like in Elementary School Aged Children?

Elementary-school-aged children with PTSD may not have symptoms of amnesia; however, they might have some of the following symptoms:

Omen formation. This is the belief that there were “warning signs” before the trauma occurred. Children with this belief are always on the alert for signs or warnings of “future danger”. For example, if it was raining on the day of a car accident, your child might believe that the rain was a “warning” of something bad happening, and refuse to leave the house when it rains.

Traumatic play. Similar to very young children, elementary school children may re-enact part of the trauma in their play. For example, a child who was traumatized by a car accident may then play with toy cars, and have them crash in to each other.

What can PTSD look like in Teens?

In addition to the symptoms already described, some teens may also have some of the following symptoms:

After the traumatic event, your teen may start showing a fear of separation from family members (for example, afraid of being away from parents). Some teens may also show impulsive and aggressive behavior, such as having angry outbursts, or using recreational drugs.



Article courtesy:

Poverty should not stand in the way of education

Education is largely regarded as the silver bullet to overcoming poverty. How ironic, then, that a recent study shows poverty has a serious impact on children’s ability to get an education.

The study, completed last fall, shows rural poverty, especially in the Centre and North Hastings areas, as well as in pockets of Prince Edward County, is pegged as a leading factor relating directly to challenges faced by youngsters entering the school system.

The Pan-Canadian Early Development Instrument EDI mapping shows pupils in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties face some of the highest percentage of vulnerability in almost all the five categories.

According to the study, kindergarten children here are up to 16 per cent more likely to struggle with poor physical health and wellbeing, up to 14 per cent more likely to struggle with social competence and up to 15 per cent more likely to battle with poor language and cognitive skills.

Those numbers are significantly higher than virtually any neighbouring regions.

Maribeth deSnoo, executive director of the Hastings and Prince Edward Learning Foundation, said the study highlights trends that could pose a problem for local boards facing an increasing burden of supporting their neediest students. She said rural poverty seems to be an underlying issue.

“Even when you look at us in comparison to the rest in southeastern Ontario, certainly there are greater needs,” she said. “You’re looking at more vulnerable children.”

Jody DiRocco, superintendent for school effectiveness for the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board, said the data “is good information for us to have so that we know that’s an area that we need to be targeting.

“It also speaks for the need for the school system to work in collaboration with other community agencies to ensure that all our families are supported,” he said.

The problem is current education funding virtually ignores all factors except student population (there are some concessions made to smaller, rural areas). Thus any efforts to overcome socio-economic issues within school boards comes at the expense of other schools, assuming boards even have the ability to tackle anything related to socio-economic issues.

The ideal situation would be for the provincial ministry of education to work alongside and in co-operation with at least the provincial ministry of children and youth services to ensure maximum support is being given to young people, before and during the education process.

If education is truly the key to helping people escape poverty, then we need to do everything possible to ensure poverty doesn’t then stand in the way to our children getting that education.



Article courtesy of The Homeless Hub



Young Parent Outreach is a dynamic resource program providing services and support to young pregnant women, young moms and dads, and their children in the Greater Victoria area.

These services – provided by The Cridge Centre for the Family – are designed to give young pregnant women and young moms and dads the help and support network they need to have healthy babies and to be effective, successful parents. Whether it’s housing, income assistance, food back or dealing with child custody or substance abuse, The Cridge Young Parent Outreach program can help.