Understanding Childhood Trauma: A Coping Guide
The truth is, childhood trauma occurs more than you think. Nearly two thirds of children are thought to experience at least one traumatic event by the time they reach sixteen. What are some symptoms of childhood trauma? Audacious Therapy wants to share a coping guide of how to identify and overcome childhood trauma.
Symptoms of Early Childhood Trauma
The body has a physical alarm system when it comes to trauma and responding to traumatic events. The natural fight or flight response is the body’s way of preparing it to deal with trauma.
Childhood trauma can result from a number of incidents in childhood, and if not identified and addressed can be carried into adulthood. Some traumatic experiences include:
- Sexual, physical, or verbal abuse
- Violence in school
- Sudden loss of a loved one
- Physical or sexual assault
- Illness, death, or violence in the home
- Bullying in school
- Substance abuse
In order to identify if your child is experiencing the effects of childhood trauma there are a few signs you can be on the lookout for. In pre-school aged children symptoms can include weight loss, separation anxiety, and an excess amount of crying or screaming.
In elementary aged children some signs to look for are feelings of anxiety and fear, difficulty sleeping, and lack of concentration.
For young adolescents up to teens, some symptoms include feelings of depression, abuse of drugs of alcohol, and self-harm behaviors.
Effects of Childhood Trauma
If left untreated, effects of childhood trauma can be carried into adulthood and have a long-lasting impact on the mental and emotional wellbeing of an individual.
When it comes to children in particular, if untreated childhood trauma can result in learning problems and difficulty in school environments, long term health problems, mental health issues.
Unfortunately, not all children that experience childhood trauma are given the opportunity to recover. If left untreated these traumatic experiences can have long lasting negative effects that are carried into adulthood. With the help of a child counselor children are able to work through these experiences, adapt, and overcome the situation.
Healing Childhood Trauma
The first step in any healing process is gaining the client
, and in this case, the child’s trust. By assuring the child that they are safe to talk about what happened you will give them the opportunity to explain the issue so you can work together towards coping techniques.
Explaining to the child that they are not responsible for what happened to them is a large part in the healing process. Children have a tendency to blame themselves for things outside of their control, by reassuring them that what they experienced had nothing to do with them you can break down emotional walls and allow the healing process to begin.
Patience is key. Healing doesn’t have a timeline, and healing childhood trauma is no exception. During therapy, allowing the child to recover on his or her own time while supporting them throughout the recovery process will allow them to regain control from the experience and not carry feelings of guilt into adulthood.
Like any kind of trauma, childhood trauma should be treated with the utmost of importance and left in the hands of a trained mental health professional. If you think your child may be experiencing the results of trauma, schedule a consult with your local child counselor today and allow them to begin the healing process in a supportive environment. (link)