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What Is Child Traumatic Stress?

If your child has reactions that impact his/her daily life after a traumatic event, these responses are called child-traumatic stress. These reactions may show up in different ways, such as changes in your child’s behavior (such as being irritable, withdrawn, or acting younger than his/her age), difficulties in interactions with others, problems or changes in sleeping or eating patterns, or school performance. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) states, “Child traumatic stress occurs when children and adolescents are exposed to traumatic events or traumatic situations that overwhelm their ability to cope.”

When these stress symptoms develop, they happen automatically (i.e., are not in your child’s conscious control) as your child attempts to manage negative emotions (like fear) that emerge in response to memories of the event. The difficulties or stress symptoms can present immediately or show up later.


They may also continue for days, weeks, or months after the traumatic experience and/or may resurface at different periods throughout a young person’s life. Some children may be more susceptible to developing traumatic stress reactions than others. To learn more about this, click here:

Signs and Symptoms of Traumatic Stress

When your child experiences traumatic stress, he or she may act in an uncharacteristic or not typical way for him or her. These reactions may continue for days, weeks, or months after the traumatic experience. They also could emerge weeks or months after the event took place. Remember, these are normal reactions to your child having survived an overwhelming life experience.

The signs and symptoms of traumatic stress look different in each child and at different ages. Below is a diagram to help family members understand traumatic stress symptoms by age

Signs-and-Symptomstrauma kids.jpg

Parenting Blog that has caught my attention

From the Blog:

Peace In Your Home is a site dedicated to helping parents and families learn new tools to crack outdated and unproductive myths about parenting. These beliefs usually stem from the way we were raised as children and what we have heard or seen over the years.

Peace In Your Home was founded by parenting instructors, Jeff Everage and Susie Walton. Our methodology is based upon the International Network for Children and Families‘ nationally-recognized parenting course, Redirecting Children’s BehaviorTM, authored by Kathryn Kvols.

If we look at the high incidence of teen behavioral problems, law infractions, and even suicide, it becomes obvious that many of the old beliefs are not working. Parents want the best for their children, but many of us are still searching for the tools to raise resilient, responsible, capable, and emotionally stable children.

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