How to Recognize Trauma Triggers in Kids & Respond

What’s a trigger? A trigger is a reminder of past trauma. It can set off an emotional alarm system, causing feelings of overwhelming sadness, anxiety, or panic.

Trauma- When we don't understand behavior, we tend to think kids are doing it on purpose

Common Trauma Triggers

Our capacity to navigate our triggers and recognize them in children is critical to our ability to provide gentle guidance and help kids grow strong.

Common trauma triggers include:

Common Trauma Triggers

How Kids Respond to Trauma Triggers

A good indicator that trauma has been triggered is when response intensity doesn’t match the intensity of stressors or when behaviors seem confusing or inexplicable.

Trauma- Trigger Responses

Look for Emotions Driving Behaviors

When navigating triggers, get curious. Look for the emotions driving behaviors and use mirroring as a tool for supportive conversations.

Responding to Trauma Triggers- Mirroring

When we acknowledge we’re aware of children’s feelings & experiences, it’s normalizing. We don’t need to talk them out of their feelings—this kind of recognition is healing.

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