How To Help Children Cope with Trauma

Traumatic experiences, if left unprocessed could be detrimental to your child's social, psychological and mental development. Children who are faced with difficult circumstances have more difficulty comprehending the situation rather than a grown individual.

In most instances, children could not express their feelings and tend to get overwhelmed by their emotions. Their fears and loneliness are left trapped within them. Children who are in conflict with traumatic experiences tend to displace their emotions through indifference and isolation. They may have difficulty getting enough sleep in fear that something might happen to them while doing so. They can be easily angered and irritated by usually tolerable situations. Some also manifest physical pains such as stomach ache, headache or indigestion. They can also be overly sensitive which could lead to crying spells or loneliness. If left unchecked, these symptoms could lead to depression. If a child bears guilt inside, it may even cause suicide and self-inflicted pains.

If your child is showing these signs after a significant change or a traumatic event in his/her life, you need to help your child cope with his/her psychological stress. Here are some ways to assist you in dealing with this situation.

Engage your child to express his/her feelings. Once a child starts to talk, they may be unstoppable especially if the child carries too much burden inside. If you let them express their deep-seated emotions, they can release their pains and loneliness. Psychologists and psychiatrist do not have magic potions in their pockets.  Their most important secret is their immense ability to listen without passing judgment.

Relive the moment with your child. If your child is in denial of the occurrence of the event, help him/her remember all the circumstances surrounding the traumatic event. Ask her what he/she was doing when the tragedy happened. Tell him/her to tell you the sequence of events. This could help him/her confront the issue rather than evade the reality of the situation. Speaking your fears out loud decreases the fear in itself.

Give them the opportunity to say how sorry they are and ask forgiveness. In such instances, your child may actually feel guilty for having caused the tragedy. Even though you keep on telling your child that it is not his/her fault, he/she still feeds his/her negative emotions. Encourage him/her to express their apologies and grant them forgiveness. This way, your child would be able to release an overwhelming grief.

Take your child to a vacation. If the event happened within your home, it would be helpful to take your child to a short vacation. A different environment could pose a new perspective in your child's mind. Sometimes, the atmosphere within your home could trigger images of the tragic events and push your child deeper into his/her misery.

Seek professional help. If your child's condition persists for more than two weeks, you need to seek the expertise of a professional in order to prevent depression. Psychotherapy and counseling can be of great help to your child. Find someone who specializes in cases of dealing with traumatic events.

Seeing your child undergo psychological stress could also make you feel sad. Helping your child cope may put strains in your normal life. Take a time off or a leave in your workplace. Make sure to take care of yourself as well so that your child can draw his/her much needed strength and energy from you.


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