What is childhood trauma and what is its impact?
According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative (NCTSI), over two thirds of children reported experiencing a traumatic event by the time they reached 16.
Traumatic events include (and are not limited to) childhood neglect, psychological abuse, the unexpected loss of parent or loved one, cyber bullying, and serious accidents.
Since every child is unique, signs of traumatic stress may look different. In children of preschool age, they may fear separation from their caregiver, experience nightmares, cry often, or change their eating habits. Traumatic stress in elementary-aged children may consist of feelings of guilt and/or shame, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, or trouble sleeping. Children in middle and high school may have symptoms of self-harm, depression, alcohol or drug abuse, and unsafe sexual behaviors.
As a parent / caregiver, remember that there is hope for your child’s recovery. Immediate tools include reminding your child that they are safe, and that they are not responsible (it is common for children to blame themselves). It is also important to be patient with your child, and if needed, seek help from a professional.
At Renew Counseling, we have passionate counselors who are trained to work with children who have experienced trauma, and we would love to help!
For more information on this topic, go to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Understanding Childhood Trauma.
~ By Jordyn Chubb, Student Intern