5 Steps To Understanding And Helping Trauma Kids

I strongly believe that everyone has gone through trauma of some degree. Trauma can range from losing your favorite stuffed animal to being abused. Using my own experience of being a trauma kid, and helping other trauma kids, I have made 5 steps to better help and understand trauma-affected children. Also keep in mind that when I say trauma "kid", I am using the term 'kid' very loosely. This can range from babies all the way to teenagers.

Step 1: Be Aware
You never truly know how something is affecting a child because they do not have advanced communication skills yet. You should pay close attention to behavioral changes and try to spend quality time getting to know the kid personally.

Step 2: Communicate
You should always communicate with them as much a possible. Avoid oversimplifying things, or treating them like a baby. Keep in mind that trauma kids are usually more mature, and know when they are being babied. It is so important that you have productive conversations with them so they can learn how to communicate by themselves. Try to keep the child in the loop by telling them important life events and changes. Make sure to tell them that it is okay to express their feelings as long as they don't hurt anyone or break anything. Also know that it is okay to tell them how you are honestly feeling, just make sure you also tell them that they don't have to take care of you, because you have it under control. The most important thing is that you are always genuine and honest with them so they learn to trust you. Kids who have been through trauma usually have a harder time trusting people.

Step 3: Build Their Confidence
Trauma kids are made to feel like they do not matter. They will often deal with depression at a young age. They have a hard time seeing the good in themselves, as well as the rest of the world. This is why it is so important that you make sure you are being a positive figure for them. That does not mean that you can never correct them, discipline them, or tell them when they are wrong. It just means that you need to be pointing out when they do things well, when they look nice, and when you enjoy spending time with them. Kind words can really go a long way. Just make sure you don't always expect immediate results because some children won't know how to receive it at first. They may have never been complimented before. 

Step 4: Be Patient
It is not always going to be easy, in fact, it won't be easy. However, it is important that you keep in mind that this kid has been through a lot and really needs someone to be a rock for them. You never know what has the potential to trigger a kid, and you may find yourself in the midst of a tantrum that began out of nowhere. It can be hard to know what to do, but the first thing is DO NOT YELL! Yelling can be a huge trigger and make the kid pull away from you, leaving you with no way to help them. You need to take some deep breaths, get on the kid's level, and try to talk slowly and quietly. Make sure you tell them that you love them over and over again. If they are screaming over you and will not listen then sit down by them and wait for them to calm down. If the child is breaking things or getting violent, then wrap your arms around them and hold their arms down. Then pull them into your lap and hold them there. Make sure you tell them you love them, even if it seems like they aren't listening.

Step 5: Do Everything Out of Love
Kids are not given enough credit. They know a lot more than we acknowledge, but they have a lot fewer skills than we think they do. It is our job to respect them and their space, while also acknowledging that we are there to teach them, and love them. If you ever find that you are doing anything for a reason other than love, you need to take a step back and reevaluate your intentions and goals. Make sure you are consulting in someone else about decisions and involving the child as well. . No matter what it is, make sure you are constantly asking yourself if you have the child's best interest at heart. Love always wins.


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