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When a child experiences things that are emotionally distressing and painful, it can lead to trauma that has lasting effects on his youth. Traumatic events such as physical or sexual abuse, witnessing violence in the home, and even civil unrest and war could all affect a child as he grows up. Childhood trauma is something that should be tackled differently as there are specific ways to handle it correctly, specially for the adults dealing with children with CTS (child traumatic stress). The help you understand what Childhood Trauma is, here are 5 facts about it that you should know:
1. Child trauma happens more commonly than you think
In the United States, more than 25% of the American youth aged 16 and below have suffered serious traumatic stress. There are many factors that could lead to it being worse. Common sources of CTS include child abuse, neglect, disasters, terrorism, and witnessing violence. When such events happen, chances of CTS developing is high. In fact, around 25% of child victims who are witness to violence and abuse develop depression, anxiety, and even PTSD. Because of their age and dependence to the adults around them, they are made more vulnerable to traumatic stress.
2. Child traumatic stress affects the person’s learning ability
There are symptoms of CTS that directly affect their learning ability. Refusing to go to school, difficulty focusing on their teachers, and getting into school fights are some cases that may seem normal to kids but may actually be telling of a deeper issue. If your child is experiencing CTS, you may notice a difficulty in sleeping and frequent nightmares. Some children also show lack of appetite for food. When it comes to socializing, they may feel withdrawn from friends and relatives and would rather keep away.
Some kids show different signs. While some would seem aloof and awkward, trying to avoid as much interaction as possible, some kids become angry and get into fights often. Some would avoid scary situations and display nervousness. These unusual behaviors could affect their learning capability as it gets in their way of learning from their teachers and peers.
When a child suffers from CTS, it’s easy to pass it off as just part of their growing period. But if you take time to look closely and observe them, you might be surprised that something’s actually bothering them.
3. Adults play an important role in treating CTS
Of course, not all children who have experienced traumatic events in their lives develop CTS. The adults around the children play a big role in this. Having a caring support group would help the child be more open his or her fears, making it easier to cope with the trauma. In the end, it’s the type of environment you’re exposed to that helps you become resilient and mentally strong. If you’re a parent, always encourage conversation from your child so you become closer and more transparent to each other.
4. Child traumatic stress can be treated
If you think someone close to you is suffering from trauma, do not hesitate to seek professional help. CTS can be treated with the aid of mental health professionals trained in reducing traumatic stress, and minimizing its physical, mental and emotional impact on the child.
5. There are special centers that cater to CTS patients
There are many agencies you can consult with in order to better diagnose a child’s condition. You can reach out to the school psychologist, a counselor, and even to your community’s mental health professional. It’s important for adults to not ignore the symptoms once they’ve observed them.