Children soak in their environment like a flower absorbing sunlight. The environment children are raised in can help them blossom into the person they are meant to be or shut down and close themselves off from the world around them. The child’s reaction to their environment is greatly influenced by the amount of trauma the child endures and the support provided to the child post-trauma.
What Is Childhood Trauma?
Childhood trauma is a term that represents any terrifying, graphic, or life-threatening incident that happens during childhood years, (0-18). This event may have happened to the child, in front of the child, or changed the life of the child notably. These situations stir up negative emotions for the child, such as; fear, abandonment, and helplessness. It is important to note, however, that not every traumatic incident has a traumatic impact.
Examples of Childhood Trauma
Most often, traumatic events are frightening events that impact the individual or the individual’s loved ones. The frightening event may be life-threatening, but it almost always results in an injury to the person involved. Take a look at the examples of childhood trauma listed below. You will find that they are categorized based on the type of trauma.
Home Disturbances or Abuse
People often associate childhood trauma with home disturbances or abuse. While this is a common form of childhood trauma, it is not the only form. Home disturbances or abuse refers to any violent events that occur in the child’s home life.
This includes physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. It also includes domestic violence, homelessness, and the loss of a loved one. But, it could also include disasters that occur within the home, such as; fires, or burglaries.
As you can see, there are a large number of things that could cause childhood trauma in the home. Whether an event will cause a child trauma depends on how the child views the event. The presence of a loving adult who can assist the child in navigating their strong feelings and putting the event into perspective makes all the difference. That’s why children of adults with mental illness and substance abuse disorders are at a greater risk of childhood trauma.
Bullying or Violence at School
Other than the child’s home, their most frequented location is their school. The school’s environment can also be the cause of childhood trauma. Bullying is another cause of childhood trauma. Whether bullying results in childhood trauma is attributed to the severity, frequency, type, and power discrepancies of the bullying.
Violence at school is another cause of childhood trauma. Traumatic incidents, such as; the death of a close friend, or school shooting can cause child trauma. Any form of abuse that occurs at school, such as; emotional, physical, or sexual, is likely to result in trauma.
Community Disturbances or Violence
Home and school environments play a large role in shaping children’s feelings, beliefs, and actions. But, the community also has a large influence on children’s lives. Events that take place or affect a community can have a lasting impact on a child.
Natural disasters, for instance, could result in childhood trauma. But the atmosphere of a community could also cause childhood trauma. This is especially true of communities with large amounts of violent crimes.
Effects of Childhood Trauma
The effects of childhood trauma can be felt long after the child becomes an adult. For some children, childhood trauma causes impairment in neurodevelopmental and immune system responses. These impairments could result in behavior and physical disorders.
The greater the amount of trauma inflicted on a child, the greater the likelihood that the child will experience cognitive problems, mental disorders, substance use disorders, and difficulty with social and emotional functioning in school or the workplace. Take a look at these conditions linked to childhood trauma.
Mental Disorders Linked to Childhood Trauma
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Substance Use Disorders
Medical Conditions Linked to Childhood Trauma
- Stroke and Heart Problems
Repairing the Effects of Childhood Trauma
In most cases, childhood trauma results in at least one negative effect. Even if that effect is an ugly mental scar. Repairing the effects of childhood trauma can take years or an entire lifetime. But it’s worth it. Take a look at these resources to learn how to reduce the effects of childhood trauma.