Children and Trauma
Children often demonstrate different responses to traumatic events than adults. Symptoms of trauma in children often mimic other conditions, and can include:
- Difficulty or inability to regulate emotions
- Difficulty identifying feelings
- Difficulty concentrating
- Learning, language, or developmental problems
- Poor impulse control
- Trouble following rules
- Sleep problems
- Aggression towards self or others
- Difficulty relating appropriately to others
- Lack of appropriate ways to self-soothe
- Oppositional behaviour
Due to their age, children can be more vulnerable to experiencing trauma-related symptoms. In order to recover from trauma, children benefit from being provided with a safe environment, where they have an emotionally responsive caregiver. Trauma therapy for children typically requires substantial involvement from parents or carers as an important part of the recovery process.
However, parents or carers of children who have experienced traumatic events often have their own experiences of trauma, which can make it difficult to tune in to their child's feelings and be fully involved in their child's therapy. In this case, parents and carers may benefit from engaging in their own therapy in order to be able to support their child.