While adults may have difficulty dealing with stressful situations, those same circumstances can emotionally traumatize a child. Since children aren’t able to cope with these situations, their mental health can suffer over a long time. As a parent, you can protect your child from suffering long-term emotional scars by knowing how to recognize traumatizing situations and actions to help your child cope with them.
What Situations are Traumatizing for Children?
There’s a strong chance that your child will suffer through some traumatizing event. In the United States, about half of children do suffer some trauma, which includes abuse, random acts of violence, terrorism, or natural disasters. In many instances, a child can experience more than one event, and there may not be an adequate period of healing between events. This can lead to a condition of chronic trauma that may be difficult to resolve even when the child attends therapy to address these issues.
In most cases, children can rebound after a traumatic event with the love and understanding of family members. This is usually enough for the child to return to their normal behaviours and levels of functioning. The age and maturity of the child are essential factors in determining how well a child can cope with a traumatic event.
How Can You Help Your Child?
Physical Affection: Hugging is especially essential for helping your child recover. Even when an older child or teen may resist physical affection, the interactions help make them feel secure.
Encourage Fun: You can also help by promoting fun activities for your child. Anything they enjoy should be encouraged because it offers them a diversion from thinking about the traumatizing event.
Promote Structure: Stick to your routine. You should avoid making changes because your child will rely on the structure and schedule with which they have become familiar. This includes keeping regular meal times, rules for doing homework, and the allotment for playtimes.
There are many more ways you can help your child, including discussing plans for the future that will promote hope. If you’re uncertain about your child’s recovery from trauma, you should contact a therapist or other mental health professional. Counselling can be very useful in helping children of all ages cope with trauma.