What is Early Childhood Trauma?
Stressful events occurring early in life may have a serious impact on a child’s intellectual, emotional, social and even physical development. Avoiding or changing traumatic situations if possible, and helping children become resilient by developing healthy ways of coping, will enable them to manage difficult times throughout life. Early childhood trauma may include….
- Experiencing or witnessing disturbing events, such as weather/natural disasters, acts of violence, the loss of a family member and other family and community crises.
- Living in distressing situations, including growing up with family economic hardship, fear, or hunger. It can also mean living in an unsafe environment, where there is physical or emotional neglect or abuse, substance abuse, domestic conflict, or violence at home and/or in the child’s community.
- Being cared for by a parent or caregiver under stress. Experiencing toxic stress makes doing anything more difficult, and caring for a child is especially hard under those circumstances. Parents who are stressed may be angry, anxious, withdrawn, distracted or depressed, which can affect their ability to meet a child’s needs.
- Trauma “passed down” through generations. Parents or caregivers who have experienced childhood trauma themselves are more likely to have children who demonstrate the effects of early trauma. Studies show that traumatic stress may be passed down, affecting parent-child relationships for generations.
Related Topics: Trauma
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