How to Help Your Traumatized Child
When you are the parent of a child who has experienced a stressful event, it is natural to feel at a loss of how to support them. This post will discuss three ways to support your child who has experienced trauma or significant stress.
Understand That Trauma is Variable
One of the greatest things you can do to help your child is to understand that trauma looks different in different people. For example, although many individuals experienced the trauma of 9/11, there we were a multitude of different trauma responses which coincided with the event. Although most trauma results in behaviors related to fight, flight, flee, or flock, this can look different from person to person. When reminded of the traumatic event, “Joe” may flee by running away from home, while “Jenny” may flee by leaving the room. It is of utmost importance to validate your child’s personal experience and journey of healing from their trauma.
Trauma Looks Different in Children
Just like trauma can look different from person to person, trauma looks different between adults and children as well. Children who have experienced significant stress or trauma may become increasingly aggressive, wet the bed, have nightmares, and avoid reminders of their trauma.
No matter how much you love and care about your child, you won’t be a help to them if you are dysregulated yourself. Make sure you engage in self-care yourself so that you can be calm, cool, and collected when you are with your child. This can be in the form of exercising, reading a book, eating healthfully, or simply taking a deep breath prior to interacting with your loved one. As the saying goes, it’s important to put your own oxygen mask on prior to assisting others with theirs. The more regulated you are, the more you will be able to help your child.
Want to take the next step towards helping your child heal? Contact me at (585) 206-1506 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we can work together to help your child in their path towards healing.