Posted by Brittany M
Trauma can take many forms. There are many different causes of trauma and lots of different signs. Knowing the signs is especially important because there can be so much variation. The signs a person expresses can differ depending on their age, what they’ve experienced, and how they’re processing what has happened. By reviewing the ways that trauma symptoms may appear, we can better recognize them to help the people we serve.
According to the National Child Trauma Stress Network, signs of trauma can vary based on the child’s age. Signs of trauma can include:
1. In Children 1-5 years old
Very young children may have very loud or strong expressions of trauma, such as being aggressive, excessive screaming, crying, or seeking attention through positive or negative behavior. Other signs may be quieter but still troubling, like weight loss or loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping or nightmares, generalized fear, or bedwetting.
2. In Children 6-11 years old
School-aged children may have some of the same signs as very young children, such as bedwetting, having nightmares, and showing aggressive or anxious behavior. These older children may also:
3. In Teens and Young adults
Teenagers and young adults may have some of these signs:
So how can you help your child?
Be patient with your child’s healing process and recognize that it may take a long time. Tell your child that he or she is not to blame and explain that they are safe. Learn more about trauma symptoms and reflect on how your own past traumatic experiences may be affecting you. Recognize that trauma affects everyone in the family in some way and take steps to manage the stress. Find an appropriate mental health professional for your child and for any other family members if needed, including yourself. Find support where possible, including friends, family members, and community resources.
Click here for links to educational information and professional help:
To learn more, you can visit this page from the National Child Trauma Stress Network: http://www.nctsn.org/resources/audiences/parents-caregivers
The website provides lots of information and resources for professionals, educators, and families.