Children are mentally vulnerable, no doubt about this. However, keeping them from catching traumatic experience is not easy, as they will grow and interact with more and more people, dealing with various conditions. Traumas can come in many ways for children. Put several kids in the same situation and they will perceive it differently. Some are more sensitive than others and more vulnerable to traumatic experiences.
It’s tricky to notice the signs of trauma. Some hide it much better than others and most don’t even realise they have it. Many of us still carry traumas to adulthood and sometimes without even knowing. The longer we avoid or bury traumas, the deeper it gets to our subconscious and harder for us to cure it. As we know, trauma will affect our behaviours and decision making processes. Therefore it’s important to notice and treat trauma as soon as possible, especially for children who are no professionals in dealing with trauma (or even understand its concept).
Some children are naturally good at hiding their traumas, but it’s not impossible to detect them. Here are the most common signs of children with traumas that will help you, even slightly, to detect traumas in children (or even adults!)
1. Unusual daily habit
Despite the daily routine, as parents or adults-on-watch, you may notice some unusual changes in children’s daily habit. It could vary from sleeping problems (insomnia or constant nightmares, as it is believed that dreams express our subconscious state) to eating disorders (eating way too much or too less). It can be tricky, though, because as children grow up, they are bound to perform changes. However, when their daily habits affect their health (both physical and mental), you should pay more attention to it. Also, watch out for unusual repetitive behaviour such as murmuring random words or washing their hands repeatedly in a row (could be a symptom of OCD).
2. Aggressive behaviour and anger problems
Some children are born with a bad temper. That’s natural. However, there are warning signs of aggressive behaviour and anger problems when the child’s temper began to interfere with relationships (with friends, siblings or parents) and when the child uses aggression as a tool to express disagreement or discomfort. If ignored, the child can have less tolerance towards anger triggers and easily develop hatred towards other people.
3. Becoming anxious, fearful, clingy and avoidant
Traumatic experiences can cause symptoms that leads to anxiety disorders. Children, especially, are vulnerable to become afraid and thus clingy to a role they receive as protector, such as the parents. Yet, at the same time, they are going to be mostly avoidant to new people as strangers are automatically seen as danger.
4. Socializing problems and inconfidence
This is the most common effect of traumatized children, because traumas are usually derived from experiences involving another person. Introverted children are not to be mistaken as serious social withdrawal, though. Introverted children are only selective and tend to prefer personal approaches, while traumatized children would completely shun themselves from the society and refuse any kind of approach.
5. Learning difficulties
Traumas can also affect the children’s cognition, which will result in difficulties of concentrating and logical thinking.