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Parenting Tips to Deal with a Kid Who is Experiencing Trauma

Prabhleen Gupta

Prabhleen Gupta

Founder- Personal Mastery

Trauma
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Trauma is not an easy thing to deal with whether it’s a kid or an adult. It is the time when we need the support of our family the most. The same is the case with the children who have or are experiencing trauma, they need a safe environment. When a child is dealing with any sort of trauma, they need to feel safe.

Undoubtedly, parents always try to provide the safest environment for their children and they want them to nurture in a loving environment. But it becomes a challenge for the kids when parents themselves do not understand the concept of trauma.

When they fail to understand that their kid is experiencing some emotionally damaging situation, they misinterpret their behavior which results in increasing the frustration level of the kid.

In this article, we are discussing the traumatic effects on children and different ways to help them during that tough time. When you understand better about the trauma and its impacts, you can save your child and help them get healed easily.

Let’s know about trauma

Trauma can be referred to as the way we respond to the occurrence of any threatening or harmful event. The nature of the harm caused can be physical or mental. Children easily get affected by the things and no matter if they are injured physically or experienced some emotional pain, it can be threatening to the child.

Kids are closely connected with their parents and siblings and something bad that happened to their close ones can also affect them. Just like adults, kids can also be traumatized by some single event or a series of events that put them in bad mental health.

Events that have the potential of causing trauma to the kids

• Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
• Neglecting behavior by parents
• Separation anxiety
• Bullying
• Being a spectator of some harsh event such as someone harming their pet
• Accidents or other natural disasters
• Parent’s mental illness and unpredictable behavior.

How does untreated trauma impact the kids’ lives?

There are some stressful situations in the kids’ lives that help them grow and develop mentally, such as separation from their parents for a day at school, anxiety before the performance, or feeling nervous in front of a crowd. All these things cannot be labeled as trauma as they help them grow in life.

But the overwhelming situation as explained above causes the “fight, flight, or freeze” response and it is not limited to the change in the mental state but also affects the body with faster heart rate and increased blood pressure. It also changes the way they look at the world and respond to the circumstances.

Factors determining the impact of trauma on kids

Age

Younger children are more prone to get traumatized. Even if they are not able to talk, the memory of the event would be retained in their mind and affect their well-being.

Frequency

The frequency of the event also decides how deep the effect is going to be. When the same kind of event occurs, again and again, it is supposed to have a high level of trauma than the singular event.

Care and love

Kids who are loved unconditionally and believe that they have a positive relationship are more likely to recover easily than those who lack the support of caregivers.

Coping skills

Some children have better coping skills and are intelligent, have good physical health, and have high self-esteem.

Perception

The child’s way of perceiving danger is a very important factor. The child that fears the most would experience the trauma the most.

Sensitivity

It is something that nobody can control. Some kids are born sensitive and high level of sensitivity towards things than others.

How to understand the behavior of the child

The kids who experience depression reflect the behavior that sometimes becomes hard to understand. But their brain, nervous system, and bodies start adapting to the traumatic events as a result and become resistant to protecting themselves from the world.

You might see that if your children are going through tough times, they become more aggressive, trust even their parents less, and disobey whatever their caregivers say. It might be hard to believe but this type of behavior is equally important when kids are in any sort of danger.

But when they get out of that atmosphere and reach an environment that is safer for them, it becomes hard for them to identify and their body and mind do not accept it easily. It takes time for them to understand that they are in a safe environment and nothing would harm them.

When you notice that your child is suddenly behaving differently and start reacting in a different way, they might be experiencing some trauma trigger. The trigger is that thing when the atmosphere from the traumatic situation is completely different but there is something that reminds the kid of the incident. Such as sound, tone of voice, smell, or emotions as well.

How to help your child to recover

Childhood trauma is not something that should be taken lightly, its impacts are long-lasting but with the right parenting, care and love it can be treated. You can also seek help from the NLP trainer to treat the trauma of your child.

Here are some tips that will help you deal with your kid:

Identify the triggers

There might be something in your and your child’s surroundings that triggers them and causes disturbances to their brain. You must be aware of those triggers by watching their behavioral patterns and the reactions to the things that you feel are out of place at that time. You can help them in such situations by avoiding the triggers and keeping them away from the things that might trigger them.

Emotional availability

Sometimes, children behave in certain ways and distance themselves from the adults that might be trying to help them. It is not intentional, their behavior is the result of trauma that has caused distrust in them. But it is in your hands how to deal with such a situation. Instead of reacting angrily or surprisingly, you must give your whole attention to them. Remember that your love and care are the only treatment for your child.

Hug them when you feel that they need it and assure them that you are always there for them no matter what. Spending time together can help them heal faster and you must be patient with the results.

Make sure you respond well

Parents have to take care of the way they respond. Your reaction might trigger your child more and they would feel difficult to come out of the trauma even. It is better to acknowledge the feelings of your child and understand their behavior than just reacting to their tantrums. Respond in a subtle way when they are getting upset and lower your tone so that they don’t feel yelled at.

Do not give physical punishments

Physical punishments might make the situation even worse and your child would never come out of trauma or trust you again. Setting boundaries is right but give them a safe environment and avoid any sort of physical punishment. Praise them whenever they need and appreciate them for doing well. it might motivate them more than you think.

Listen to them

If something is uncomfortable and difficult to talk about, talk about it anyway. Avoiding the conversation is not a solution. And make sure that you do not force your kid to talk about things. The right way is to let them be comfortable enough with you so that they can open up about anything and talk about everything. Half of the trauma would be gone when they feel that they have someone close to hear them.

Be patient

The patient is the key to dealing with the child in any case. Even if they are suffering from the trauma or not. You must be patient with them so that they don’t get confused about your reactions. Sometimes, things are not in the control of the children such as their behavior and tantrums, they are not mentally mature to understand the mannerism completely.

But the task of the parent is to teach them by being patient with them. Remember that your behavior can be more traumatic for your child than any other thing. They would deal with anything if they get the right kind of environment but they would be traumatized if they feel that they are not understood and loved.

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