Trauma in children can be a number of things. It can be medical trauma, such as undergoing numerous medical procedures. Trauma can be surviving a car crash. Trauma can be experiencing neglect, bullying, and abuse. Most trauma occurs to about 40% of children in the United States. That’s a lot. And chances are, the percentage is even higher.
Oftentimes, children do not talk about their trauma, out of shame or fear. So, how do you know your child experienced a trauma and is struggling to deal with it?
Below is a list of symptoms that can arise in someone struggling with a trauma:
- Feeling “jumpy” or on edge
- Being hypervigilant: always on the lookout for danger
- Frequent Nightmares
- Flashbacks: This is when memories of the trauma “flash” before your eyes, and they are beyond your control.
- Re-experiencing the event: having the fear and emotions take over as if you were back in the situation.
- Feeling numb
- Avoiding situations, places, or people that remind you of the trauma. Disengaging from others. Not having interest in typical activities.
- Increased irritability and anger
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty sleeping
Young children (typically 6 and under) may also exhibit some of the following:
- They may “regress.” This means they may start acting like a child younger than themselves. They may start wetting the bed or speaking differently.
- Young children might become very “clingy” to you, not wanting you to leave, always searching for you in a room, not wanting to be alone.
How Can We Help?
We can provide therapy that has been found to be highly effective for children that have experienced a trauma. It is called Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or TF-CBT for short. We will help your child learn skills to manage their symptoms and find ways to be a joyful child again. We will also help you, as the parent, learn how to cope with the knowledge that your child has experienced a trauma and how to best support yourself and your child.
If your child has said something about experiencing a trauma, the best thing you can do is to take them seriously. Please call and schedule an appointment today.