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15 Aug, 2022
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childhood trauma

Childhood Trauma – H&S Education & Parenting

Childhood Trauma- What Every Parent Needs To Know!

It’s so common to hear parents saying ‘but this happened to him/her when he/she was so young! So don’t worry he/she won’t even remember!’ This is completely UNTRUE! The truth is yes children may be resilient but they have feelings too! Hence, childhood trauma shouldn’t be dismissed as it’s no big deal, because in fact, it is a big deal as it can have lasting negative impact(s) on your child! This then begs the question ‘what is childhood trauma?’ Keep reading if you want to learn more about this topic!

childhood trauma
What Is Childhood Trauma?
This is defined as an extremely stressful, or emotionally troubling event experienced by a child at any age which has lasting negative effects on the child’s mental and physical health. Usually if this is not treated adequately, can carry on to adulthood. It is worthy to note that there are many different experiences which can be responsible for childhood trauma. Some which are directly responsible include physical or sexual abuse of the child, other indirect events such as domestic abuse of a parent or sibling can also cause childhood trauma.
Types Of Childhood Trauma:
There are 10 types of childhood trauma. 5 of which are personal and the other 5 are indirect or related through other family members.
5 Personal Types:
1. Physical Abuse
2. Verbal Abuse
3. Sexual Abuse
4. Physical Neglect
5. Emotional Neglect
5 Indirect Types:
1. Alcoholic Parent
2. Parent who is a victim of Domestic Violence
3. Family member in jail
4. Family member with Mental illness
5. Parents going through Divorce

Effects Of Childhood Trauma:

As mentioned above, childhood trauma can have lasting negative effects on the child’s mental as well as physical health. Some of the psychological effects include unsocial behaviours, PTSD or posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, attachment issues, substance abuse, ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, sleep disorders etc. Children whose mothers have experienced traumatic/stressful events during pregnancy can also have a negative impact on the child with increased risk of mental and neurodevelopmental disorders. Children who experience this may also be at an increased risk for developing asthma, coronary heart diseases, diabetes, stroke.

Signs & Symptoms Of A Child Suffering From Trauma:

It’s important to understand that children react differently to trauma so when trying to understand if a child is suffering from trauma look for the following signs & symptoms:

1. Suffers from anxiety and is constantly on the alert
2. Withdrawn from others
3. Irritable
4. Has difficulty falling asleep
5. Lacks energy
6. Unable to concentrate
7. Has poor self-image and confidence
8. Experiences bedwetting, night terrors or flashbacks
9. Has panic attacks
10. Avoids similar situations to the traumatic event
11. Is in pain
12. Is unable to receive or or show affection
13. Showcases feelings of guilt
Remember, it’s not all that straightforward to be able to pick up if a child is suffering from trauma, as not all children will show the above symptoms. If there is a suspicion it’s always best to consult a paediatrician who will be able to assess the child and diagnose the child accordingly.
What Are The NEXT Steps?
Remember family support is very important in helping reduce the effects and impact of trauma on the child. If you are aware that a certain event is the cause and you know for sure then depending on the child’s age you need to encourage him/her to express his her feelings and then validate those emotions. Always reassure your child that you will do whatever it takes to keep them safe. Take them to see their paediatrician immediately as they may need extra help such as medications to help with treating of symptoms. Remember, no matter what it is never too late to seek help and treatment can be effective irrespective of when the trauma occurred. However, it is best if picked earlier, as the child can go on to living a more normal and healthy life.

 

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