When Children Experience Trauma: A Guide for Parents and Families

Year Published: Not Dated
ACT Against Violence Project, American Psychological Association
MetLife Foundation

The term "trauma" can refer to a physical injury or a wound, but it also refers to an emotional shock that makes a lasting impression on one's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Psychological trauma can occur with or without physical injury, and it can last long after the medical problems heal. Psychological trauma often follows an emotionally painful, distressful, or shocking event, such as violence, abuse, a loved one's death, or a natural disaster. Scientists have found that the anxiety and fear that many people experience after a traumatic event may be especially strong for children. This 7-page brochure offers suggestions about how parents and families can lessen the impact of trauma on children. First, it defines trauma and explains what happens to children emotionally and behaviorally when a traumatic event occurs. It also discusses ways that parents and caregivers can help children who have experienced trauma, the importance of communication between home and school, and when to seek professional help. A list of resources for more information and assistance is included.

American Psychological Association, 750 First Street, NE, Washington, D.C. 20002-4242; Telephone: (202) 336-5600, Fax: (202) 336-5568, Web site: www.apa.org or www.actagainstviolence.org or www.actagainstviolence.apa.org/materials/publicatios/act/trauma/pdf for download
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