Jane Evans who is a specialist in Trauma Parenting was in talk and discussed various strategies to haul your kid out of five emotionally damaging experiences. A childhood which is carefree is not every kid’s privilege in the 21st Century says several parenting counsellors. Therefore parents are obliged to handle a complicated situation where the child might have experienced a traumatising or unpleasant incident. He or she might not be able to cope with it due to the adults who missed out on an important condition.
Jane Evans, who is a specialist in Trauma Parenting, was in Mumbai last weekend to talk about the tools to make way for a special bond with the children during an event organised by ‘Born Smart’. He stated that kids who have had an experience of a moving incident should be addressed. She further explained that "They won't just `go away. Ignoring it can make your child's brain operate on survival mode, sensing threat everywhere after that." But the very first step she explained is to notice and recognize it as they will not talk about it unlike adults. Children are more expressive in their behaviour. Many of them cope with the situation by trying to please everyone around even if it involves sacrificing their own needs explained Evans. Many can also react vigorously to the same incident. She further says “A tiny cut on a finger that shouldn't get more than a few minutes of attention will exaggerate in their trauma-induced minds and feel like a catastrophe."
The next step is, to be simple with the explanations. If they are left to assess the situation and cope on their own they are likely to deduce several misconceptions that can also cause anxiety. For an example a child can end up deducing that his parents fight with each other because his father is mischievous. To cope with the stress, a child might behave in an inconsistent manner against those he loves or look out for options to divert himself or for ‘self-soothing,’ which includes video games, alcohol, recreational drugs, overeating.
Listed below are the most common causes of trauma among children and ways how to handle them –
A child can experience an emotional outburst, which can lash out on other kids around him or her or find it impossible to get accustomed to a new company or make friends and hence socially awkward. They may not be able to concentrate on a particular task or may react emotionally might not be able to calm themselves. On the other hand, he can also turn meek, tend to observe more and be less active physically or function exactly as instructed. Keeping peace with everyone might make him feel secure.
Compassion and kindness are the most appropriate way to handle the situation here. Ignoring the behaviour of the child you have to be very calm and try to communicate and connect with them on emotional terms. Approaching the subject with something like “I am worried about you” can be a good idea. Making them talk by involving them in a conversation can rewire their brain, which can be in survival mode instead of the conventional reasoning mode. If they are hurting other kids in the playground or the school, it is not because they want to hurt fellow children or another human being. It is because these actions act as a vent for their feelings. Encouraging them to play around or engaging them in some recreational activity like singing, dancing, music or yoga will help them in regulating their feelings.
Death At Home
The signs of trauma after death are similar to those mentioned above. The child can appear worried, anxious, repulsive or even withdrawn and the eating patterns can also get irregular or distorted. Eating more or eating less than usual both indicate signs of trauma. They can experience extreme mood swings, for example, they may seem happy and normal at one moment and may get agitated right after that. Most of the children, especially who are under the age of six do not fully understand the concept of death. They are foreign to its irreversible nature. Pre scholars in some cases tend to believe that their dead dog will wake up from the sleep.
If the child is raising several questions, it is better to respond to them honestly and in such a manner that they don’t get confused or terrified. It is very important to understand the question and answer it accordingly and appropriately. Waiting after a week or so, if the child raises any more questions, it is a good sign. Processing incidents that cause trauma is of crucial importance for assisting kids in comprehending what happened. If the child seems to take the blame for the death on himself, it is important to make them understand that, everyone tends to get sick now and then and when medicines are helpless the person may die. Before the child internalises, you might have to explain the same thing again and again for quite a long period yet keeping the sensitivity intact.
A conventional trait, according to Evans, in the characteristics of children from ‘Broken Homes,’ has a lot to do with the absence of any one of the parent. He may behave normally there but experience an emotional outburst on returning to the parent who is responsible for the custody of the children. In some cases, it might also take approximately a week to calm them down. This is also because the child might feel pressurised around the parent who is not responsible for the custody of the child and hence might be uncomfortable.
Disputes related to the custody of the child might end up making things worse as their interpretation of the entire incident might be completely different, and it may appear to them as being taken away from the parent who loves them by the other. Parents who often tend to communicate after the divorce through the child can cause them unnecessary stress as the child is forced to compromise the situation that apparently adults cannot handle anymore.
You can spare the child with the details of the divorce as it is of no use to them and might end up depressing them even more. But it is important to fill them in with the necessary details and make it clear to them that you are always available to them. If the child is unresponsive or is raising various questions related to the incident, an adequate explanation is sufficient. Another important thing to keep in mind is that the parent who will have the responsibility of the child should make sure that he or she is available physically and emotionally most of the times. It is double the work, but necessary.
Being adults, any accident can be accounted for anger or frustration, but with kids, the response is a bit complex than that. Children may tend to withdraw themselves, get irritated easily, experience low appetite or in worse cases, they may have repeated nightmares. In some case, the situation was worse to an extent where the affected children might have a strong response to the locality where the accident took place.
They only possible way out of such situations is to calmly and openly discuss with them about the incident when they appear ready. This might provide them with the necessary closure and in turn allowing you and the child to approach the incident that has ‘happened’ and is past now. This will also make them feel secure. News reports that are similar to the incidents or news of any disaster may or may not rigger the response, but it is better to stay aware. As a parent, you will have to divert their mind from the image hence detaching them from the incident.
Sometimes it is the trauma of the modern age that several kids have to face. The pressure on both of the parents of holding on to the job, or the race of the career by spending more time on work than family, can appear like they have less emotional energy to share with the family and kids. They are mostly alone to make sense of the emotional and everyday experiences as they have inputs from their parents which are the closest ‘reasonable adults’. The latter is also important as over the period, it helps children to cope by ‘self-soothing’. They will also try to deduce the sense in the relationships around them and their long and short-term expectations.
Taking out a little time to communicate to your child is not a very simple way of making the situation better and normal. Communication is they only key to maintain an emotional connection. Understanding the mental state of the child and getting in tune with them followed by a couple of physical moments of being together can resolve most of the concerns that might haunt them.