Trauma is an emotional response to an intense event that threatens or causes harm. The harm can be physical or emotional, real or perceived, and it can threaten the child or someone close to him or her. Trauma can be the result of a single event, or it can result from exposure to multiple events over time.

  • Abuse (physical, sexual, or emotional)
  • Neglect 
  • Effects of poverty (such as homelessness or not having enough to eat)
  • Being separated from loved ones
  • Bullying Witnessing harm to a loved one or pet (e.g., domestic or community violence) 
  • Natural disasters or accidents
  • Unpredictable parental behavior due to addiction or mental illness
Signs and indications of trauma may vary depending on a child’s age. Symptoms may include:

  • Irritability
  • Being difficult to calm
  • Frequent tantrums and clinginess.
  • Difficulty paying attention,
  • Being quiet or withdrawn
  • Frequent sadness
  • Changes in school performance
  • Refusal to follow rules
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Risky behaviors,
  • Use of drugs or alcohol
With the help of supportive, caring adults, children can and do recover. Consider the following tips:

  • Identify trauma triggers.
  • Be emotionally and physically available.
  • Respond, don’t react.
  • Avoid physical punishment.
  • Don’t take the behaviors personally.
  • Listen. Help your child learn to relax
  • .Be consistent and predictable.Be patient.
  • Allow some control.
  • Encourage self-esteem.
Trauma may affect a child physically, mentally, emotionally and their behavior in the following ways:

  • Inability to control physical responses to stress
  • Chronic illness,
  • Difficulty thinking, learning, and concentrating
  • Impaired memory
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling unsafe
  • Lack of impulse control
  • Fighting, aggression, running away