Childhood Trauma

Childhood Trauma

Children are innocent, and they are unable to cope with childhood trauma even as they grow into adulthood. Adults might think that children are too young to understand what happened to them but that is hardly ever the case, the mental trauma still remains.

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Early childhood trauma can occur when a child is between the ages of 0-6. This can be in the form of physical or mental abuse, bereavement or neglect. In general, childhood trauma may take on any of the following types –

Bereavement
Often the loss of a loved one like a parent can have a negative effect on a child. The child in question might see the event as traumatic. In some cases, children who go through such experiences at an early age have such severe symptoms that any memories that are associated with the deceased person may frighten them.

Physical Abuse
Physical abuse is physical aggression or injury that is directed at a young child by an adult or caregiver. In some cases, the adult might not be a caregiver at all but may be someone who the child knows. Physical childhood abuse can result in physical harm such as breaks, bruises, cuts or other injuries.

This can also include poisoning, slapping, throwing or burning. In some cases the abuse is so severe that the child never really recovers from the mental agony. In many western countries there is no clear cut line that constitutes physical abuse. However, deliberately hurting a child for no reason is unacceptable.

Neglect
The lack of consistent soothing by a parent or guardian may prove to be traumatic for a young child who depends on it. Usually, children who go through such trauma have parents who are away most of the time or are alcoholics.

This may also include neglect from other people that the child trusts or looks up to, like a teacher, coach, babysitter or any relative. The trauma is therefore a form of emotional neglect.

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Community Violence
A child may be traumatized from an event like a robbery or through witnessing a violent act. This may result from people who are not the child’s immediate family members like friends from school or others. Childhood bullying falls in this category as well.

The results of childhood trauma make themselves known. Children who have suffered from any sort of traumatic event might show the following symptoms –

[ul style=”1″]
[li]Sleep Disturbance[/li]
[li]Self Neglect or Self Sabotage[/li]
[li]Compulsive or Addictive Behaviour[/li]
[li]Chronic Health Problems[/li]
[li]Crankiness[/li]
[li]and more . . . [/li]
[/ul]

Sadly, while the after effects of certain type of childhood trauma like physical abuse are obvious, the emotional effects are often overlooked. Children who go through these events do not understand what is happening to them, which is why they are unable to cope or resolve the mental anguish that they feel.

This depends on the child’s age as well. For example, a two year old would look at a traumatic event differently than a five year old.