Traumatic Experiences

Experiences like sexual or physical or substance abuse, natural disasters, terrorism, death of loved one, accidents domestic violence war experience, etc. might be considered as traumatic. Children who have experienced similar situations may show signs of child traumatic stress.

Stress caused by Child Trauma When children are exposed to one or more traumas, they suffer from child traumatic stress which is persistent even after the events have ended. These traumatic experiences can result in many problems such as:

All these symptoms are commonly found in children who suffer from a traumatic event. These remind them of the traumatic event in some way even after it had passed. As an adult, we also face stress often but in case of children, stress hinders their daily life and interfere with interferes with their ability to interact with others. Children are not immune to such events at any age and how they will handle it depends on the child’s age and developmental level along with individual differences.

Childhood trauma if left untreated can also interfere with the neurology of the brain causing health-risk behaviors ranging from smoking to other eating disorders. Researches have suggested that such victims are more prone to develop long-term health problems such as diabetes or heart disease. Traumatic stress can also disturb your mental health and disturb every aspect of the child’s life (Physical, social, mental)

Reminders of traumatic experience

Traumatic experiences have a great impact on the upcoming life of a child often leaving a legacy of reminders that may persist for years. These reminders are somehow related to traumatic experiences, their circumstances, and their aftermath. These reminders can be:

It is important to identify these reminders and avoiding them somehow is an important tool. While dealing with such children it is important to target their responses and loss these reminders.

Protective and Risk Factors

Fortunately, not every child has experienced trauma traumatic stress. There are many contributing factors on which the outcome of such traumatic experiences depends.

One of the factors which can alter the effects of trauma is the severity of the event and the intensity of damage that it has deals with questions like

  • Who was hurt?
  • How badly was that person hurt?
  • Was there a need to go to the hospital? 
  • Were the police involved? 
  • Did it result in the separation of the child from caregivers? 
  • Did a friend or family member die?
  • The other factor could be the proximity with the event like thechild being at the place where the event occurred or deals with questions like:
  • Did the child see the event happen to someone else?
  • Did the child was the victim? 
  • Did the child saw the event on media?
  • Did they hear a loved one talk about the event?

Another important factor is the response of the caregivers.

    • Did the child’s family believe the child? 
    • Did they take the reactions of the child seriously?
    • What was their response to the child’s needs?
    • How did they cope with the event themselves?

This factor depends upon the environment in which the child lives like for instance the Children who have vulnerable surroundings or have been more exposed to traumatic events are prone to traumatic stress.

Factors defining the race, culture, race, and ethnicity of children, are also important. They describe from what families and communities do the child belongs. They can act as a protective factor in a way that the families might have some qualities and or resources developing resilience in children. However, it can also become a risk factor for example experiences of racism and discrimination can increase a child’s risk for traumatic stress symptoms.