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Whether caused by a global pandemic, serious accident, violent crime, or natural disaster, a troubling event can cause traumatic stress in your children. Even children who are not directly affected can become traumatized when repeatedly exposed to horrific images of the event on news or social media. This trauma could cause your child an array of intense, confusing, and frightening emotions. While sometimes these feelings might fade over time, if not helped, they could remain with the child into adulthood and cause the development of other disorders, such as substance use disorder. However, there are ways in which you can help your child manage their emotions and work through what they are experiencing. 

Look For Signs of Trauma

Looking for signs that your child is experiencing trauma might include disruptions in mood, sleep, appetite, motivation, and overall well-being. Other signs include:

  • Appearing withdrawn
  • Crying, screaming, or whining often
  • Moving aimlessly
  • Losing interest in friends 
  • Nightmares
  • Harsh mood swings 
  • Feeling depressed
  • Developing unfounded fears
  • Experiencing negative thoughts

Helping You and Your Child Cope

Helping your child cope with trauma could be significantly affected by how you respond. Even the most independent teenagers look to their parents for guidance. If you experienced trauma alongside your child, it is crucial to take steps to treat your traumatic stress. Even infants can pick up on your stress. However, by taking care of your emotional needs, you will become more of a calming influence. There are other things to consider when treating your child’s trauma, including:

  • Knowing your children respond to trauma in different ways
  • Encouraging your child to share feelings openly
  • Allowing them to grieve losses
  • Discouraging obsessive behavior
  • De-stressing as a family
  • Re-building trust and safety

Managing your child’s trauma begins with being able to manage your own stress and fears. Try to remain open and honest with your child. If you do not know the answer to a question, they ask regarding their trauma, respond with “I don’t know.” If you continue to struggle with trauma, it may be time to seek help. At Guest House, we work with adults to explore and find ways to treat their trauma, including therapy, counseling, and exercises that help reduce the feelings attached to trauma and strengthen the trust and bond you have with others. You don’t have to live in the shadow of trauma. To learn more, call Guest House today at (855) 483-7800.