This study investigated trauma exposure as a risk factor for increased parenting stress, controlling for social support utilisation and specific caregiver characteristics. Half the participants reported lifetime exposure to trauma, and 44% reported 3 or more exposures. A similar trend was noted for children with 73% of caregivers reporting more than one child exposure. Logistic regression revealed trauma exposure alone, as compared to trauma related disorder, predicted greater parenting distress; parent’s perception of their child as difficult; and increased risk for dysfunctional parent-child relationships. Identifying individual trauma exposure as a family risk factor provides an opportunity for early intervention, and can help indicate relational models of care that are most appropriate for trauma-exposed parents and children.