After going through a traumatic experience, it is not uncommon to be overwhelmed with several feelings all at once: anger, anxiety, sadness, fear. What’s more, as a parent, it is extremely difficult to watch your child go through this, not knowing what to do or say to make them feel better. It can be crucial to provide adequate, professional support for your child during this period to prevent their past from having a negative or profound impact on their future.
So, what kind of situations lead to trauma? Trauma is often thought of as the aftermath of a single, horrific event. This could include your child experiencing the death of someone close to them, experiencing an accident or injury, or being the victim of a crime or natural disaster. However trauma can also result from being exposed to a number of smaller, more subtle set of events over a prolonged period of time. A common example includes ongoing experiences of physical, sexual or verbal abuse, as these experience can be extremely powerful in shaping a child’s view of themselves and their ability to trust others.
The experience of trauma in children can be difficult for them to express in words, and will therefore often present more subtly through expressions of emotion and behaviour. If your child has experienced trauma, you may have noticed some of the following:
Everybody responds to trauma in different ways. Therefore, if your child has experienced a traumatic event, they may seem as though they are coping well and are functioning as they normally do. Regardless of their initial response, it is important to support your child and offer them professional assistance early on to prevent any future impact. It is common for the experience of childhood trauma to begin to show itself only later down the track as they mature and have the capacity to understand the event more clearly.
There are a number of practitioners at VCPS who specialise in working with trauma in children, teenagers and young adults. If your child has been through something either recently or in their past, it can help to get the support of a professional to work through the emotions of the trauma in order to feel as though they can move past it.
The VCPS practitioners can specifically: