Trauma can impact mental and physical health into adulthood
When a child feels intensely threatened by an event he or she is involved in or witnesses, we call that event a trauma. Children and teens can be exposed to a range of traumatic events, such as bullying, domestic violence, and disaster. The event itself isn't as important as the impact it has on the young person--what is a traumatic incident for one child might not be for another. Trauma needs to be treated before the effects of the event become so severe that an individual is no longer able to function on a daily basis. Signs of trauma include disconnection, flashbacks, depression, intense fear, or drug use.
To provide trauma-informed care to children, youth, and families, professionals must understand the impact of trauma on child development and learn how to effectively minimize its effects without causing additional trauma.
The core of trauma-informed care involves a fundamental shift in thought, from "What's wrong with you?" to "What's happened to you?" It's important to recognize that "acting out" in kids and teens may be a result of trauma. In those cases, getting help is preferable to punishment.