After a disturbing or distressing event it isn’t uncommon to experience what is known as trauma. Psychological trauma is essentially what happens when the mind is no longer capable of coping with what it has experienced. Children are still developing coping methods and as such can be more prone to trauma. That being said, trauma can be experienced at any age.
When your child experiences a traumatic situation how do they deal with said situation? Let’s explore.
Reactions To Trauma
Children and adults all react to trauma differently. With that in mind, there are common reactions that can be seen in children with trauma. Have a look at the common reactions:
- A sense of fear, especially when a protector isn’t present
- Increase in dependency, including increased clinginess
- Trouble sleeping and/or nightmares
- Bed wetting
- Aches, pains, and frequent uncomfortable feelings
- Increase in risky behavior, including inappropriate behavior
- Increase in attention seeking behavior
- Increase in tantrums
How To Help Children Affected By Trauma
Helping your children handle trauma can be done in a number of ways. Finding out what helps your child in particular is important. Like some have different reactions to trauma, can be aided by different methods. Here are some of the ways that you can help children affected by trauma.
Don’t Get Mad, Avoid Negative Reaction
Don’t get mad at your children for their response to trauma. Do your best to not show frustration or other negative emotions in response either. This will help to show your child that you support them.
Talking Is Important, It Makes A Big Difference
Talking can be your biggest tool. No matter what you talk about, your child needs to know that they have someone to talk to. At the same time you want to try to get them to talk about how they feel, what is happening, and let them know that they have a support system.
Don’t just talk with your child though, make sure to listen. Repeat pieces back to them so that they know you were listening. Encourage them to be open about their trauma.
Encourage Your Child To Express Themselves
Your child is feeling a lot of different emotions and experiencing a lot of different thoughts when they have been through a trauma. Often times they will be unsure of whether or not they can talk about them. Encourage your child to talk about what they are feeling and experiencing. This will help them to process the trauma and to talk in general.
Reassure Your Child
Give your child plenty of reassurance. Tell them that you are there, they have someone to talk to, that they are safe, etc. All of this is important for them to hear.
Give Encouragement And Positivity
Most parents provide their children with positivity and encouragement as is but after trauma your child will likely need extra encouragement. Let them know when they do good and celebrate achievements. Throwing in extra positivity to their life is also helpful. One idea is to provide them with wholesome, positive experiences.
Spend Time Together
Spending time together after a trauma is important. Make sure to spend time with your child as a family so that they know you are there. It also helps to have a sense of normality that is established by being a family.
Don’t Forget About Siblings
It is important that if your child has siblings that you talk with them too. Chances are that they have noticed that there is something wrong too. Let them know to support their sibling and how to do so. A lot of these tips work just as well for siblings as they do parents.
Siblings will notice something is wrong and may not know what to do unless you talk to them first.
Seek Professional Help
Unless your child is old enough to seek help on their own it is important that you help them seek professional help when needed. Counselors, psychologists, and therapists are people who can help you help your child. If you need help finding a professional, try checking with your child’s primary care provider.
Helping your child after a traumatic experience is important, as you probably already know. Take these ways that you can help to mind and try each one. The more of them that you can use, the more affect they will have. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if your child needs it.