The confusing, frightening and intense emotions that follow a natural disaster or traumatic event can be more pronounced in kids or children. Whether people experienced the traumatic event directly or they are exposed to horrific images repeatedly after the fact.
To know more about the correlation of families and trauma, click here.
While adolescents and children are very vulnerable to being traumatized compared to adults, with the right, reassurance and support, they can also recover faster. Using the coping tips that we will enumerate in this article, you can help kids or children regain their emotional balance, move on from their trauma and restore the children’s trust in the world.
What are the effects of trauma on kids or children?
Unexpectedly, losing someone close or being involved in a disaster, place crash, violent attack or vehicular accident can be very stressful to kids. A traumatic and damaging event can threaten their trust and sense of security, leaving the children feeling vulnerable and helpless, especially if the incident or accident stemmed from any forms of violence like a mass shooting, physical assault or even terrorist attack.
Even teens or children that are not directly affected by disasters can become damaged or traumatized when they’re repeatedly exposed to the terrible image of events on social media or television.
Effects of trauma on kids ages five and under may:
Show signs and symptoms of fear
Overly dependence on caregiver and parents
Scream, whimper or cry
Become immobile or move aimlessly
Return to conducts and behaviors you can regularly see with younger kids like bed-wetting or thumb sucking
Children age six to eleven may:
Lose interest in family, friends, or fun activities
Have problems sleeping like nightmares
Become disruptive, angry or irritable
Struggle with homework and other school projects
Complains about physical problems
Develop baseless and groundless fears
Feel emotionally numb, guilty over what is happening or depressed
Teens or young adults age 12 to 17, may:
Have disturbing memories of the event and sleep problems like nightmares
Avoid anything that reminds them of the dreadful events
Abuse alcohol, tobacco or drugs
Act disrespectful, destructive or disruptive
Feel guilty, depressed or isolated
Lose interest in their hobbies
Have suicidal tendencies
Whatever the age of the child, it is essential to offer additional support and reassurance following a traumatic incident or accident. The parent’s response can influence a kid’s reaction to a disaster, so it is crucial to educate yourself about traumatic stress and damaging and health events. The more you understand about the effects, treatment options and symptoms, the better equipped you will be helping your loved ones to recover and get their life back to normal after days, weeks or months following a traumatic event.
Trauma recovery tip# 1: Minimize the media exposure
Kids who have experienced a distressing event can sometimes find constant media coverage to be very traumatizing.
Excessive and uncontrolled exposure to images of a dreadful event like repeatedly watching videos or photos on social media or television shows can create stress in kids or teens who are not affected by the incident or accident directly.
Limit your kids’ exposure to traumatic events from social media and the television. Do not let the kids watch shows or news depicting the events they experienced just before going to bed.
You need to make sure that you use the parental controls on your television, tablet or computer to prevent them from continually viewing disturbing videos or photos.
Visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicidal_Tendencies to find out more about suicidal tendencies.
Watch news reports about traumatic events with your kids as much as you can. Reassure them as you are watching and help them place all the necessary information to contact. You have to avoid exposing your kids to graphic videos and photos.
It is usually less traumatizing for teens and children to read the daily papers instead of watching it through a television show or watch the events through video clips on the Internet.
Trauma recovery tip# 2: Engage your kids
You cannot force your kids to recover from shocking events and stress, but you can play a significant role in the healing process by spending a lot of time together and talking with them face to face, free from games, television and other forms of distractions.
You need to do your best in creating a pleasant environment where your children feel very safe to communicate what they are feeling and to ask a lot of questions.
Examples of traumatic events? Check out https://www.healthline.com/health/traumatic-events to find out more.
Provide them with an ongoing chance to talk about the things that they went through or what they see in social media or the television. Encourage the kids to ask more questions and express the concerns that they have, but do not force them to tell you the things that you want to know. Validate and acknowledge your kid’s interests. The events may bring up unrelated issues or fears in your kids.
Comfort them and recognize their worries even if they do not seem important to you. Make sure to reassure them that what happened is not their fault and you love them very much. Make sure that you tell them it is okay to feel angry, scared or upset. Do not pressure them to talk to you or everyone else.
It can be difficult for children to talk about what happened to them. A young kid may find it very easy to draw pictures about how they feel instead of talking about it. You can ask them about the things that they have drawn. You also need to be honest, while you tailor all the information that you share according to their age.
Check out this site to know about phases of trauma recovery.
Honesty is very important.Do not say everything is perfectly fine, if it is not okay. You have to do regular activities with them, but make sure it is not related to the traumatic events that they just have experienced.
Encourage them to look for their friends and pursue sports games or hobbies that they enjoyed before the incident happened. Watching funny movies or sitcoms can also help uplift their spirit. Avoid watching television shows or films that are too emotional or graphic. You do not want your kids to be thinking of anything else. You need to make sure that they are happy and laughing to forget the traumatic events that happened in their life.