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How to spot signs of trauma in your child – Times of India

We all want our kids to be happy all the time. Don’t we? Experts suggest that for kids to be happy, it is important to teach them how to tolerate the state of unhappiness. But it is also imperative for parents to identify if it’s general sadness or an undiagnosed trauma. Unresolved trauma in children can lead to significant consequences in their adult lives. Children must get the help they need to address the source of trauma and start the process of healing.
Talking about some of the common traumas that children suffer from, Priyanka Kapoor, Senior Clinical Psychologist, BLK-Max Super Specialty Hospital shares, “I see children going through neglect, psychological, physical or sexual abuse. Add to this, there is school or community violence, witnessing violence at home, serious accidents, life-threatening illness of their loved ones, sudden or violent loss of a loved one, bullying or racism, natural disasters.” Trauma can be due to a single event or recurrence of traumatic experiences. A child’s response to a traumatic event will be unique, depending on their age or developmental stage. And this is where the role of parents become even more crucial.

Even when a child is no longer in danger, their bodies remain on high alert, releasing stress hormones in the body, which interferes with their ability to pay attention, sleep, or have social interactions with others.
Common signs of trauma

Trauma can manifest itself in different ways. Hence, it is essential to know the signs of trauma in children, as the impact of unresolved trauma can last for years.

Parents often tend to miss some trauma signs such as difficulty concentrating, getting easily scared, difficulty sleeping, sudden weight changes, getting easily frustrated or irritated, problem in eating, intense outbursts of anger and being withdrawn and indulging in day dreaming.

What can parents do?

Parents can ensure a safe space for the child by engaging in the following steps, according to Priyanka Kapoor.

1. Not dismissing the child’s emotions and behavior

2. Listening to the child patiently with an open mind

3. Noticing subtle changes and gently asking the child about them.

4. By avoiding being judgemental

5. By not overreacting and instead try to empathise with them

6. Assuring the child they will be there for him or her

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