PTSD is not just for veterans; it can happen to anybody if they have experienced or witnessed a particularly upsetting event. Children are at a higher risk of developing PTSD because they lack the sophisticated coping mechanisms to process certain stimuli.
When people think of sustaining a trauma, many conjure up images of combat, but children are constantly struggling to navigate the world even though they may not be on a battlefield.
Here are some “normal” events in a child’s life that may cause some “abnormal” responses in your younger family members:
5. A DEATH– it could be a grandparent or pet. We are able to accept the reality of death better than a child. The knowledge that they will never have that loved one in their life anymore could be felt way more intensely than you may realize.
4. A DIVORCE– when you think about it, this is a death, too. Their family as they know it is flat-lining.
3. A MOVE– again, another loss. They are losing their school, their friends, their house… Basically, their entire world.
2. An INJURY– While we as parents may be relieved that they “only” broke an arm or that they got better from their hospitalization, they may not feel that way. Getting an X-ray, getting blood drawn, having strangers look at them… all of these experiences could make them feel violated. In addition, TBI (traumatic brain injuries), or concussions, can also be traumatic, as the name implies. If the brain has sustained some impact and the brain is how we process information, it only stands to reason that a developing mind may need some help healing, or that there may be injuries that do not necessarily show up on a standard brain scan at the ER.
1. A DISCIPLINE– It could be a one-time occurrence, or a long-term environment of hostility. Do you find yourself yelling a lot? Doling out consequences for minor incidences? Do you lay your hands on your child? In short, do you find that your child is frequently crying or protesting as a result of your actions? This is a sign they are being traumatized. It’s a different form of PTSD- CPTSD, “C” meaning “Complex.”
Time doe NOT heal all wounds… Sometimes, we need to reach out to professionals to help us. Adults have a difficult enough time with asking for help; children need us to ask FOR them.
My next post in this series will be the Top Five “Normal” Symptoms that may indicate your child may be suffering from a trauma-induced event.
In the meantime, if you are concerned about your child, remember that you can contact their school’s guidance counselor at any time and they can assist you in getting your child the help they may need.
Make it the #153Promise to think about your child’s life from a child’s mind.