What causes child trauma?
For millions of children around the world, neglect, abuse, and bullying are part of their everyday reality. Trauma that occurs in childhood can change the way a child experiences themselves and their environment, and can have a lifelong effect if not resolved on time. The lingering effects of childhood trauma often affects daily habits, moods, relationships, and life decisions, so understanding what causes trauma and how to help children cope is crucial.
Arguably, the most common form of trauma in kids is neglect which means that the emotional or physical needs of the child weren’t attended to. While emotional neglect isn’t necessarily childhood emotional abuse, even unintentional disregard of a child’s feelings is still harmful. An example of emotional neglect is a child telling their parents about something they're upset about, but the parent fails to listen and help the child cope. Over time, the child stops seeking support and starts withholding emotions to avoid overburdening the parents.
Abuse can take many forms - it can be emotional, physical or sexual. Abuse events happen when children are threatened or harmed by those charged with their care, such as parents, guardians and older siblings, or those who are in a position of power or authority over them, like teachers, school staff, older students, etc. While abuse can occur in many contexts and take manyforms, it is imperative to teach our children to speak up about any behaviours or observations that concern them in order to prevent later repercussions.
Bullies often target other kids because their looks, language, or behaviour is somehow different. Being bullied as a child is a traumatic experience, which can leave lasting scars on victims and bullies alike, including depression and anxiety. It is of utmost importance that we, as adults and parents, understand that such childhood experiences play a negative role in child and adult life, and it is our job to identify and prevent peer conflict and bullying situations. Online bullying can be just as damaging as physical bullying, so Bosco can help bridge the gap between parents and their children’s online activity, by alerting parents on cyberbullying and inappropriate content right when attention is needed.
It might be easier to turn away than to face these issues, but we can no longer afford to do so. Stress, anxiety, self-esteem issues, depression, and substance abuse are all health outcomes linked to childhood trauma. Thankfully, therapy is a brilliant and effective option for trauma to be treated, but knowing what is causing the symptoms will make it easier to talk about it, cope with it, and finally leave it behind. Additionally, Bosco can alert you on potential risks of cyberbullying, harassment, and violence so you can anticipate potential problems before they arise and help you better manage issues if they do happen. Don’t forget that the more informed you are, the more helpful you can be for your kids.