Improving children’s
emotional health 

through education and collaboration

improving children’s emotional health

through education & collaboration

Traumatic events 

may have profound effects on physical health, mental health, and development. 

Sudden and Unexpected occurrence

A traumatic event is a sudden and unexpected occurrence that causes intense fear and may involve a threat of physical harm or actual physical harm. A traumatic experience may have a profound effect on mental health, physical health, and development of the child. How children process trauma depends on their age and level of development. Though most children who are exposed to violence do not develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, many do suffer neuro-developmental effects from chronic hyper-arousal of the sympathetic nervous system during and after exposure to violent events. By understanding how children experience traumatic events and how they express their lingering distress over the experience, supportive adults can better respond and help them through this challenging time.

Traumatic events 

may have profound effects on physical health, mental health, and development. 

Sudden and Unexpected occurrence

A traumatic event is a sudden and unexpected occurrence that causes intense fear and may involve a threat of physical harm or actual physical harm. A traumatic experience may have a profound effect on mental health, physical health, and development of the child. How children process trauma depends on their age and level of development. Though most children who are exposed to violence do not develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, many do suffer neuro-developmental effects from chronic hyper-arousal of the sympathetic nervous system during and after exposure to violent events. By understanding how children experience traumatic events and how they express their lingering distress over the experience, supportive adults can better respond and help them through this challenging time.

what_is_trauma

What is Trauma?

Traumas are frightening, often dangerous, and/or violent events or conditions experienced as overwhelming to a family and/or any or all of its individual members. These experiences can include breaches in the protective shield or social contract that diminish a family’s sense of safety and support. Each member of the family may experience trauma differently but each individual family member’s adaptation is linked to the reactions and responses of the others. There are many kinds of potentially traumatic experiences, such as: accident and/or injury; death of a loved one; serious illness, community violence/crime; violence within the family; abuse and/or neglect; sexual violence and rape; homelessness; school violence; natural disasters; sudden loss of a loved one; separation or removal from family; etc.

What is Trauma?

Traumas are frightening, often dangerous, and/or violent events or conditions experienced as overwhelming to a family and/or any or all of its individual members. These experiences can include breaches in the protective shield or social contract that diminish a family’s sense of safety and support. Each member of the family may experience trauma differently but each individual family member’s adaptation is linked to the reactions and responses of the others. There are many kinds of potentially traumatic experiences, such as: accident and/or injury; death of a loved one; serious illness, community violence/crime; violence within the family; abuse and/or neglect; sexual violence and rape; homelessness; school violence; natural disasters; sudden loss of a loved one; separation or removal from family; etc.

what_is_trauma
preschool-aged-children

Trauma effects on preschoolers 

Preschool-aged children may lose recently acquired developmental milestones and may increase behaviors such as bedwetting, thumb-sucking, and regress to simpler speech. They may become more clingy toward their parents and worry about their parents’ safety and return. These young children may also become more irritable with more temper tantrums and have more difficulty calming down. Some children may show reverse behavior and become very withdrawn, subdued, or even mute after a traumatic event. These children may have difficulties falling or staying asleep or have nightmares about the event or other bad dreams. Typically, they will process the event through post-traumatic play.

Pre-School Aged

Preschool-aged children may lose recently acquired developmental milestones and may increase behaviors such as bedwetting, thumb-sucking, and regress to simpler speech. They may become more clingy toward their parents and worry about their parents’ safety and return. These young children may also become more irritable with more temper tantrums and have more difficulty calming down. Some children may show reverse behavior and become very withdrawn, subdued, or even mute after a traumatic event. These children may have difficulties falling or staying asleep or have nightmares about the event or other bad dreams. Typically, they will process the event through post-traumatic play.

preschool-aged-children
Trauma_guilt

Trauma Guilt

Children exposed to a traumatic event feel self-conscious about their emotional responses to the event. They often experience feelings of shame and guilt about the traumatic event and may express fantasies about revenge and retribution. A traumatic event for adolescents may foster a radical shift in the way these teens think about the world. Some of these adolescents may begin to engage in self-destructive or accident-prone behaviors, and reckless behaviors. There may be a shift in their interpersonal relationships with family members, teachers, and classmates. They may show a change in their school performance, attendance, and behavior.

Trauma Guilt

Children exposed to a traumatic event feel self-conscious about their emotional responses to the event. They often experience feelings of shame and guilt about the traumatic event and may express fantasies about revenge and retribution. A traumatic event for adolescents may foster a radical shift in the way these teens think about the world. Some of these adolescents may begin to engage in self-destructive or accident-prone behaviors, and reckless behaviors. There may be a shift in their interpersonal relationships with family members, teachers, and classmates. They may show a change in their school performance, attendance, and behavior.

 

Trauma_guilt
retelling_the_trauma

Retelling The Trauma 

A traumatic experience may cause ongoing feelings of concern for a child’s own safety and the safety of others. Children may become preoccupied with thoughts about their actions during the event, often times experiencing guilt or shame over what they did or did not do at the time. They might engage in constant retelling of the traumatic event, or may describe being overwhelmed by their feelings of fear or sadness.

Retelling The Trauma 

A traumatic experience may cause ongoing feelings of concern for a child’s own safety and the safety of others. Children may become preoccupied with thoughts about their actions during the event, often times experiencing guilt or shame over what they did or did not do at the time. They might engage in constant retelling of the traumatic event, or may describe being overwhelmed by their feelings of fear or sadness.

 

retelling_the_trauma

Complex trauma-: Target population has experienced chronic stressors including early childhood trauma and ongoing exposures to adverse life experiences. 

Complex trauma-: Target population has experienced chronic stressors including early childhood trauma and ongoing exposures to adverse life experiences.