When we speak about childhood trauma, this generally refers to traumatic experiences that occur to children between 0 and six-years-old, however any trauma towards a child would fall into this category. Infants and young children react differently to trauma than adults do, because their brains are still forming and they may not be able to verbalize or comprehend what’s happening to them at the time.
There is evidence to indicate that traumatic experiences children experience can oftentimes lead to mental illness or emotional issues later in life. Childhood trauma can be caused from the same types of scenarios that adults have responses to, but research indicates that things like medical procedures or sudden loss of caregivers, etc. can lead to similar trauma symptoms or PTSD reactions in children.
Symptoms of childhood trauma can include:
- Poor verbal skills
- Memory problems
- Difficulty learning in schoolChildhood Trauma
- Learning disabilities
- Excessive temper
- Demanding of attention
- Aggressive behaviours
- Excessive crying or screaming
- Trust issues
- Fearful of adults
- Fear of being separated from caregiver
- Lack of self-confidence
- Stomach aches or headaches
- Nightmares or difficulty sleeping
- Bed wetting or thumb-sucking (regressive behaviours)
If you want some information on what to do when a child discloses abuse (or if you suspect), read our blog on disclosures.