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Trauma and PTSD in Children and Teens

Trauma comes in a broad range of forms and levels of severity. It can be especially impactful for children and teens because they often don’t have the emotional coping skills or cognitive abilities to have a framework to think through what has occurred. Adults often have difficulties understanding and coping with traumatic situations. That is why learning about trauma, the common reactions that occur as a result, and how to be a supportive caregiver or friend, is so important.

Faith and Trauma:  For Christians who have experienced a traumatic incident(s), having the support of a church family can provide a supportive community as well as provide a framework for dealing with suffering. Despite having these supports, it is very common for Christian people to have questions, doubts, and confusion as to why a traumatic event has occurred. This is normal. Give yourself and others time and compassion to work through things.

Get Help:  Don’t hesitate to contact ACCFS or another mental health professional to get help in processing through the impact of trauma in yourself or in others. Effective treatments are available and having someone to guide you through the healing process can reduce the suffering and move the healing process along.


For More Information:

Helping Children Cope with Traumatic Events: Tips for Helping a Child or Teen Recover from Trauma [Helpguide.org]

National Child Traumatic Stress Network
This organization provides information on effects and treatment of trauma in children and teens in the following areas:

Parents Trauma Resource Center
This site provides parents with practical information about how to help their children after a traumatic event or loss. [National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children]

Child Welfare Information Gateway
At this site you can search for information on the laws regarding child abuse and neglect in each state. Child abuse hotline numbers and laws regarding mandated reporters can also be found here.

Books

A Terrible Thing Happened  amazon.com
Author: Margaret M. Holmes
This gently told and tenderly illustrated story is for children who have witnessed any kind of violent or traumatic episode, including physical abuse, school or gang violence, accidents, homicide, suicide, and natural disasters such as floods or fire. An afterword by Sasha J. Mudlaff written for parents and other caregivers offers extensive suggestions for helping traumatized children, including a list of other sources that focus on specific events.   

Learning to Trust Again: A Young Woman’s Journey of Healing from Sexual Abuse  amazon.com
Author: Christa Sands
This 215-page book is good for teenage and young adult women who have been sexually abused. The author tells of her own experience of dealing with sexual abuse and her journey of healing. The book is also a resource for parents and other helpers offering clear guidelines regarding how to respond when a child tells them about abuse, how to report this crime to authorities, and how to support the child and themselves after they have found out about the abuse.

Children and Trauma  amazon.com
Author: Cynthia Monahon
This book teaches parents and professionals about the effects of trauma on children and offers a blueprint for restoring a child’s sense of safety and balance. The author suggests straightforward ways to help kids through tough times, and also describes in detail the warning signs that indicate a child needs professional help.