A severe trauma or being prolonged or repeatedly exposed to traumatic events can have a wide range of effects on personality, identity, mood change, emotional regulation, and interpersonal relationships.
- Many children and adolescents have difficulty expressing and controlling emotions (e.g. anger outbursts).
- It’s common that children and adolescents have difficulty calming down when upset. Consequently, some children and adolescents start to consume alcohol or drugs to calm down.
- Some children and adolescents harm themselves trying to manage their emotions.
- Try to calm your child by doing a simple breathing exercise together (counting to 3 while breathing in, counting to 5 while breathing out) or simply just count to 10 together. Also try to comfort your child by giving them a hug or distract them with an activity.
- Encourage your child to try to find helpful strategies by themselves to manage their emotions (“What else could you do/ try?”).
- You can also try the reinterpret the triggering together with your child by asking them how someone else could see the situation and how they would resolve the situation differently. Provide an example if necessary.
Beliefs about oneself
- Many children and adolescents feel helpless and that they haven’t any control over what happens in their life.
- Many children and adolescents feel ashamed and guilty (even in situations for which they are not responsible), inferior to others, or worthless.
- Take your child’s beliefs seriously and be understanding.
- Use examples of your child’s life to correct these negatives beliefs.
- Often, children and adolescents have trust issues. Consequently, they have disturbed relationships to other people or cutting themselves off from other people.
- It’s common that they have difficulty to get in contact with other people and they avoid conflicts.
- They also are more often vulnerable to abuse or exploitation because they have difficulty setting boundaries.
- Support your child in pursuing hobbies with others or to meet up with friends.
- Praise your child if they did get in contact with other people or when they managed to settle a conflict.