When children have been exposed to situations where they feared for their lives, have believed they could have been injured, have been abused, have witnessed violence, or tragically lost a loved one, they may show signs of traumatic stress.
If your child is experiencing traumatic stress you might notice the following signs:
• Difficulty sleeping and nightmares
• Refusing to go to school
• Lack of appetite
• Bed-wetting or other regression in behavior
• Interference with developmental milestones
• Getting into fights at school or fighting more with siblings
• Difficulty paying attention to teachers at school and to parents at home
• Avoidance of scary situations
• Withdrawal from friends or activities
• Nervousness or jumpiness
• Intrusive memories of what happened
• Play that includes recreating the event
Taken from The National Child Traumatic Stress Network: www.NCTSN.org
These are normal symptoms of trauma and can be addressed through counseling.
• A counselor will work with you and your child to address the trauma and any ongoing behavioral concerns related to the trauma.
• Counseling appointments are typically 45 minutes to an hour and happen once a week.
• The counselor will meet individually with the child, but parents may also be included in some sessions.
• Through counseling, children can process their experiences in a safe and supportive environment while learning skills to help themselves feel better and regulate their behavior. Parents can learn more about the effects of trauma and how to support their children at home.
• For a child under age 12 you can expect the counselor to keep parents informed of their child’s progress, any safety concerns and how parents can continue to support him or her at home. For children 12 and older, the counselor will alert the parents of any safety concerns and work with the client to keep the parent informed as appropriate.
• Your counselor can also assist you in getting connected with additional community resources, such as extra support for caregivers, psychiatric services, or pediatric MD services for the child as needed.