Here are 10 signs your child has been traumatized

With trauma in children, there are no hard and fast rules for how traumatizing an event will be. There is no system to gauge the severity, such as a DEFCON 4 or code orange traumatic event. Two people can go through the same event and one will develop PTSD symptoms and the other will not. The key is the perception, emotions and physical sensations of the person going through it. This is where children get the short end of the stick. People believe that the event was not “bad enough” to create PTSD symptoms in a child. If the child has little to no language, he is unable to express his distress. The event can be a sibling picking on him, being bullied at school, riding in an ambulance, going to the hospital or anything in-between that causes the child anguish.

1. Changes in bathroom routine

If your child has been potty trained for months and suddenly start to have accidents again, we need to question the change. Most children do not regress unless something has either changed in their lives (new sibling, divorce, etc.) or they have experienced emotional discomfort.

2. Quick change in emotion

This one is hard because quick changing emotion is the definition of a child. What we are looking for is a change that is different than in the past. This is where the caregiver’s power of observation comes into play. A therapist or medical provider won’t be able to detect this one on their own. You need to voice your concerns.

3. Changes in vocalization/selective mutism

Negative changes in verbalization are a huge red flag and are a form of developmental regression. Medical providers need to know about this right away so they can do various testing to make sure it is not a medical issue. If nothing seems to be wrong in that avenue, a mental health therapist should be seen.

4. Questions about death, being alone, being hurt, hopelessness and pain

These questions will come up naturally as children are curious. However, if these questions are the bulk of the questioning, then you need to look at why this is coming up now. The best way to handle this is to answer as honest and open as possible for the age group. Children are great at finding misconnecting information and will only perpetuate the questioning further. If you feel that they are too focused on these subjects and are unable to break away from the issue, it is time to seek assistance.

5. Aggression, irritably and/or anger

These aspects come from the lack of language. When we don’t know how to describe the emotions that are inside, we go to the easiest emotion to express — anger (adults are guilty of this as well). So while pushing people away may be the worst way to get the help we need, it may be the only way we get any help at all.

6. Odd play behaviors

All children will pretend play some brutal themes at times, crashing cars or dinosaurs eating people. But when the themes become reoccurring, overly violent or acting out a concerning event, it is time to explore it further. It is important not to shame or scold your child because playing is how children learn. So inquiring what they are doing and where they might have seen it will become invaluable clues as to their emotional stress level.

7. Memory loss or distortions

Medical providers and personnel need to be informed that your child has memory loss or distortions. They will make sure that physically there is nothing wrong and that it may have a cognitive/emotional root. Memory loss or distortions can arise for multiple reasons, including a highly emotional response to an event, someone has told your child not to tell or your child has specifically blocked the memory.

8. Concentration problems

This may not be obvious right away and it can come in two different forms. Either the child is full of thoughts related to the trauma and can’t return focus to what he should be paying attention to or his brain is bouncing from thought to thought so fast the overstimulation makes processing information difficult. Either way, this can have long-term consequences academically, socially and undermine your child’s self worth.

9. Increased sexual behaviors

The first question I get when parents report that their child is increasing sexual behaviors or masturbation is if their child was sexually abused. This may be the case, and with proper assessment this can be explored. However, the child may be using this bodily function to get endorphins to try to make him feel better. This is not a place for shame or guilt but seen as a coping skill.

10. Physical symptoms

If your child is having tummy aches or headaches every time you are about to go to a specific place, it would be helpful to observe or ask why the child doesn’t want to go there. Medical professionals should always be consulted first to determine if there is a physical reason behind the symptoms. The mind has the ability to create physical problems, so the symptoms may not be a conscious decision on the child’s part, and don’t assume the child is creating it to “just be difficult.”

If your child has any of these signs, it does not mean your child has PTSD, but it is an indication of distress and should be investigated by the caregiver, therapist and/or medical provider. It is important to keep an open mind when discussing these aspects, and it is a wonderful opportunity to grow and gain better coping skills for the future. For more information on PTSD in children, check out the National Center for PTSD, PTSD Alliance and the National Institute of Mental Health.

Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the LVRJ
Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Holiday poultry with Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine
Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine explain the different types of poultry available for the holidays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Catholic Charities hosts early Christmas meal
Students from the Bishop Gorman High School football and cheerleader team helped to serve food at the Christmas meal sponsored by the Frank and Victoria Fertitta Foundation at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada on Sunday. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Incarcerated Christmas
This is the fourth year HOPE for Prisoners has worked with the Nevada Department of Corrections to create a Christmas for prisoners to visit their families. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2018 Homeless Vigil
Straight From The Streets holds its 23rd annual vigil to remember the 179 homeless individuals who died in Clark County this year.
Getting through the Holiday blues
Psychologist Whitney Owens offers advice on keeping your mental health in check during the Holiday season in Henderson, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military program gave meal kits to 200 families at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10047 in Las Vegas Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. It all started with a chance encounter in a supermarket in Utica, N.Y., near Fort Drum. A soldier, his wife and infant had a handful of grocery items they couldn't afford. A Beam Suntory employee picked up the $12 cost for the groceries. The program has grown from providing 500 meal kits to military families in 2009 to providing more than 7,000 nationally this holiday season.K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women at WestCare Women Children Campus in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Former 51s manager Wally Backman chats about new job
Former Las Vegas 51s manager Wally Backman talks about his new job with the independent league Long Island Ducks during the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 10, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Roy Choi on cooking for Park MGM employees
As he prepares to open his new restaurant Best Friend later this month at Park MGM, celebrity chef Roy Choi took the time to cook for the resort’s employees Tuesday. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Great Santa Run
People participated in the 14th annual Las Vegas Great Santa Run which raises cubs for Opportunity Village.
World Holidays Exhibit At The Natural History Museum
Migratory Bird Day teaches adults and kids to celebrate birds
Different organizations offered activities for kids and adults to learn about birds and celebrate their migration journey at Sunset Park. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Interfaith Amigos speak in Las Vegas
Celebrity photographer dedicates dance book to Las Vegas shooting victims
Behind the scenes with local celebrity photographer Jerry Metellus as he talks about his Dance For Vegas coffee book dedicated to the 58 victims of the October 1 shooting. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like