Have you heard of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? It’s a mental health condition that can develop in response to highly stressful, traumatic events.
And over the last couple of years, kids have experienced trauma at alarming rates, thanks to everything from violence to grief and loss and the uncertainty that characterizes our world today.
Below is a basic overview of the symptoms of PTSD:
As parents, it’s critical we know how to support children experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder and create an environment where they can feel safe and heal.
Recognizing Behavior Stemming from PTSD
Trauma affects children’s bodies, brains, emotions, and behavior. And each child is different based on age, history, and unique personal characteristics. For example, toddlers may be clingy, middle schoolers may withdraw, and teenagers may react with aggression.
Learn More: Parenting Children with Trauma Factsheet
5 Tips to Help You Care for Kids with PTSD
#1: Identify trauma triggers.
Your actions, words, or even an item in your home may trigger traumatic memories. Pay attention to what distracts or scares your child or emotions that don’t seem to fit a situation.
#2: Stay present.
Offer encouragement, reassurance, and attention in whatever way your child needs at the moment. If they want to talk about their experience, be available to listen.
#3: Control your emotions.
When your child escalates, remain calm, lower your voice and listen. Don’t take their behavior personally or use physical punishment.
#4: Create consistency.
Regular routines are vital to helping children feel stable and secure.
#5: Encourage and empower.
Create positive experiences to boost self-esteem, teach relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and allow age-appropriate choices to help your child feel in control.
Do you have a child who struggles with PTSD?
We provide a wide range of wraparound mental health services to support kids and caregivers. Contact us online or call 1-406-245-6539 to learn more about help available through Youth Dynamics.
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