Each child deals with school trauma in a different way. While some children seem to do fine at first, they may eventually develop troubling behaviors or have strong emotional responses. Meanwhile, other children immediately react after a difficult experience.
Child trauma can impact kids and their families in a variety of ways, so parents must know which signs to look for. Once you notice signs of trauma, you can help your child get the help they need.
Why to Talk to Your Kids About Trauma
An estimated 46 percent of children under the age of 17 have experienced at least one incidence of trauma. Because childhood trauma is so common, it’s important to discuss it and give your child a way to make meaningful sense of these experiences. More importantly, your child needs to know you are there for them and will give them love and support.
Unfortunately, school trauma can occur in a variety of different ways. Other than school shootings, children may also encounter school violence and bullying. If they aren’t personally experiencing these events, they are seeing them on television or listening to a friend’s experience.
Talking about trauma helps kids make sense of the past. It gives them the tools to process past and future trauma in a healthy, meaningful way. While it isn’t possible to prevent bad experiences from occurring, parents can help children learn how to understand and cope with traumatic events.
6 Ways to Talk to Kids About School Trauma
For many parents, the hardest part is figuring out how to help a child with trauma in school. While the way you talk to your child about school trauma depends on their age, there are a few common tips you can use to get started.
1. Be Reassuring
When someone experiences a tragedy, it can shake their confidence in who they are and their sense of safety. As you talk to your child, reassure them. They need to know things will get better, and you will do everything you can to keep them safe.
2. Give Them a Chance to Talk
After an incident of child trauma, you should give your child a chance to talk about it. Young children may want to talk about the trauma frequently as they try to understand what happened. If you don’t know an answer to some of their questions, just tell them that.
3. Be Supportive of Their Feelings
Your child needs to know that there are no bad emotions or feelings. Everyone responds differently to school trauma, so however they are feeling is the right way to feel.
4. Start the Conversation
Children often feel afraid to bring up a difficult subject with their parents. However, they still have a need to talk about traumatic events. Following an incidence of trauma, you should be the one to bring up the topic with your child.
You should never judge or minimize the way a child is feeling. If you don’t know how to respond, ask them more questions about how they feel and let them talk. Sometimes, the best thing you can do to help with healing is simply sit down and listen to your child talk through their worries.
6. Know When You Need Help
Everyone reacts differently to a traumatic event. Sometimes, people need extra help overcoming these experiences. If your child seems to be struggling from a school-related trauma, consider seeking professional help from a mental health counselor.
Get Help After Traumatic Events
No matter how much we try to protect our loved ones, it’s impossible to stop every child trauma from happening. After a school trauma, the right support can help your loved one recover. If your child or loved one has experienced trauma or is struggling with other mental health issues, please get in touch with the professionals at Aliso Ridge Behavioral Health by calling 949-900-8426 to learn more about our mental health services – we are here for your support.