Children and Trauma

Alex Robboy, CAS, MSW, LCSW
Individual, Couples & Family Therapy
IMAGO Certified Marriage Counselor
AASECT Certified Sex Therapist Supervisor
Founder & Director of the Center for Growth Inc.

Posted by: Alex Robboy
CAS, MSW, LCSW Individual, Couples & Family Therapy IMAGO Certified Marriage Counselor AASECT Certified Sex Therapist Supervisor Founder & Director of the Center for Growth Inc.
267-324-9564

Children and Trauma Therapy in Philadelphia: Children can be traumatized by the tragic events they see reported on the news or that happen in their own lives, such as an incident at school or something frightening in the news. There are, however, ways parents can help their children respond that build their maturity and resilience.  It is important to expand our children’s understanding of events, validate their feelings, give them extra reassurance and help them learn to cope with the risks and dangers of life.

Here’s some way to work with your children to diminish or eliminate their stress…

* Make sure you feel safe. (children and trauma) Anxious parents make anxious children. The best way to help your children feel secure in the face of upsetting event is to be a parent who feels secure. If you are too anxious about things, work on your own issues and try to calm yourself down.
* Be careful what you watch on television when children are close by. (children and trauma) Parents who watch TV news or talk shows while their kids are in eye or earshot are providing much more exposure to the media than they might imagine. Even if your children are in the next room and not in front of the TV, be aware that they can—and will—pick up on what you’re watching. Relying on print or online news sources gives you more control over a child’s exposure.
* Make sure that children feel safe. (children and trauma) They should have an unequivocal sense of safety. We should be able to say: “You are safe.”
* Find out what your children are thinking. Parents can casually ask their children what they have heard and what they think about news stories.
* Let your children guide you about what information they want. (children and trauma) Let them ask questions. Answer all their questions. Do it in a reassuring and age-appropriate way. Children are your guides about how far to go. They will ask questions until they are satisfied with the information they have acquired.
* Give lots of added support and comfort, plus reassurance about safety. (children and trauma) Children may need extra hugs, or a few extra reassuring statements about the current news stories.

You need to realize you cannot hide facts from your children.  But don’t frighten them unnecessarily—even if you mean to protect them.  Try to keep their lives as ‘normal’ as possible when a traumatic event occurs.  By keeping a routine in place, you can communicate in a meaningful way that everything is okay and that they are safe and secure (even though as adults, we didn’t feel quite that way).  And show them that life goes on and there are lots of good things to look forward to in their future. 

Also, don’t be hesitant to turn to professional help if you think you need it.  Sometimes children feel more comfortable opening up to a professional than their own family members.

If you are struggling with the idea of children and traum and need help supporting them, call 267-324-9564 Center for Growth / Play Therapy in Philadelphia.