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Signs Your Child Is Dealing With Complex Trauma

signs your child is dealing with complex trauma

There are numerous signs that reveal your child is dealing with trauma. Here we will focus on the most significant ones. 

In cases where children experience an irresolvable paradox; a situation whereby the caregiver who should be their source of support is also their source of fear. Such children ultimately will not have the necessary key tools for survival. They go into adulthood to become economically unproductive and under-perform academically.

Ongoing and repeated traumatic experiences that includes factors such as significant neglect, violence, emotional abuse, physical/sexual abuse is at the root of complex trauma. Consistent exposure to the aforementioned creates a very stressful environment for a child and this, consequently, has a severe impact on the brain and body.


Significant Behavioral Outburst

Children who have experienced complex trauma can really struggle to behave safely and well. This behavioral outbursts can be difficult to predict and can be equally difficult to remedy.  In these events, parents or caregivers tend to experience increased frustration, as they seem unable to meet  the child’s needs. Some parents conversely, tag the child as difficult, defiant or manipulative. However, it ensures for more frustration on both the parent and the child. The child feel misunderstood and unheard, the parent feels disrespected and underappreciated.


Social Withdrawal

Unattended trauma creates a strain on a child’s relationship with other children. These often manifest in the events of social isolation. Exclusion from physical activity especially activities they previously enjoyed. This is because of the impact of what’s happening to and around these children. Because of what they are experiencing, they are just unable to achieve the milestone that we would love for any child to achieve. They feel safer in their own isolated space. Also, they often fear socializing with others, given their increased fear of rejection as their interpersonal experience with their parents or caregiver has taught them.


Frequent sickness

Research in neuroscience proves  that complex trauma creates chronic stress, which can cause sleep disorders, memory impairment, depression, obesity and digestive problems.   Due to the impact of complex trauma, these children tend to fall ill often. Complex trauma increases the level of Cortisol in the body to protect the body against threat. Unfortunately, at that rate, it is unable to perform at optimum level  and creates room for different kinds of distress or ailment.


Poor Self-worth

When a child experiences consistent emotional neglect and abuse, he or she sees themselves as inherently unlovable. This poor self-esteem is the result of their early relationship with their parents, which they have used to form their foundation. They also tend to disbelieve value statements and ward them off as lies. This forms the base for how they see themselves. Unless there is an intervention, the child goes through life dealing with the effects of this trauma.


Unhealthy Attachment

Because their emotional and cognitive development is impaired, they are unable to generate their own sense of safety and security for themselves; therefore, they rely on others to provide them that vital element for survival. This plays out when a child is clingy; this they developed as a way to survive the fear they live with. They are also often wary and distrusting of relationships.


As a parent, you need to understand the responsibility you take upon yourself when a child is born. To create a trauma-free environment for your child, you have to be mentally, emotionally and psychologically sound. During the early developmental years, a child forms his or her sense of security using his or her interpersonal relationship with his or her parents or caregivers.

The signs that your child is dealing with complex trauma is often very glaring. However, parents dismiss the profound impact on a child because the same child would do most things really well. Often, this could lead to dismissal and denial from the parents.

All things considered, rather than focus on creating interventions for children when trauma arises, parents can channel that energy into preventing the damage from taking off. The pain and stress it brings on children and the toll it takes on parents are not worth it.

These are only a few of the signs of complex trauma in a child. If you want to learn more about this post and learn how to prevent it, i recommend the following resources: 


Renowned experts speaking about trauma and how it affects the physical and psychological health of a person even into adulthood. 


The information on this website is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or care. Individuals should always seek their health care provider or licensed psychotherapist before doing anything which they believe to be suggested or indicated herein. An application of the material on this website is at the reader’s discretion and is the reader’s sole responsibility.

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