What You Need To Know About Childhood Trauma
Trauma in childhood can be devastating. Children are impacted by trauma just as much or even more than adults, as it impacts their lives as they grow up. For that reason, it is crucial that your child receives proper treatment to best deal with the trauma they have experienced. The following are some things you should know about childhood trauma:
What Types of Trauma Can Impact Children?
Any type of trauma can impact children. Typically, trauma occurs when a child is exposed to a dangerous or violent event they are unable to mentally cope with. Some examples of trauma include sexual exploitation or abuse, physical abuse, neglect, psychological abuse, or school violence. Some children endure trauma when there is a loss in their family. Children of deployed military members may experience trauma, particularly if the parent is away in a dangerous area with the risk of injury or death. A child who is not directly impacted by a dangerous or violent event but was a witness to the event can also suffer from trauma.
What Are Some Signs of Childhood Trauma?
Every child is different and will exhibit symptoms of trauma differently. A child's age will also determine how they react to trauma. Children of preschool age will commonly cry, tantrum, experience nightmares, or experience separation anxiety from their parents.
Children in elementary school may have problems sleeping, difficulty concentrating, or show signs of being fearful or anxious. Older children can have feelings of depression, become sexually active, start drug or alcohol abuse, or start to harm themselves.
Can Family Members Help Children Through Childhood Trauma?
With support from family members and loved ones, some children can more easily deal with childhood trauma. Family can help assure the child that they will be safe. You can talk about any measures put into place to make sure the child is protected. You can also ensure a child that they are not responsible for their trauma or the ramifications of their experience. Family can also help by being patient. There is no prescribed timetable for children to heal from trauma. Being supportive and reassuring is one of the best ways to help.
What Treatment Options Are Available?
No matter how much support from family children receive, sometimes that is not enough. Many children benefit from a treatment program for those who are impacted by trauma. Mental health professionals who are trained in childhood trauma treatment can help both children and their families heal from the impact of trauma. Therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, play therapy, and other options are available to help children overcome traumatic stress.
For more information, contact an organization that offers a trauma treatment program for youth.