Trauma and Its Effect on Children


Youngsters at the age of eight are particularly more vulnerable to traumatic incidents due to their development reliance and progress on janitors and parents. Trauma is caused by physical abuse, rape, parent conflict, verbal abuse, and chronic diseases, especially in early infancy. Sexual assault, community violence, natural disaster, domestic abuse, and death due to accidents are traumatic situations in the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Presidential Task Force on Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Despite the abundance of statistical data on the consequences and causes of trauma, counselors and psychiatrists still lack knowledge of the influence of traumatic events on younger children’s physical and psychological development.

The discrepancy exists because the consequences and causes of childhood trauma have received minimal attention in trauma research. Although early childhood studies have progressed rapidly in the previous decades, traumatized patients have not been sent to psychiatrists on time because of counselors’ insufficient expertise (Darves-Bornoz 30). The number of children experiencing trauma has remained high. The paper examines the notion of trauma and its effect on children. Moreover, it looks into the consequences, causes, reactivation of trauma, and prospective treatment for traumatized youngsters.

Prevalence of Trauma in Young Children

Various psychoanalysts and scholars have interpreted the term trauma in different ways. According to studies, trauma is the degradation of the entire psyche (Fondren et al. 202). The APA definition of trauma is a threatened or actual death, sexual violence, or significant injury (Parveen 54). Trauma is formatted into the subject of life experience and psychiatry as something imaginary, organized around the register of representation, communication, and perception. It is ingrained in the subject’s life over time through perception and experience. Hence trauma hinders a person’s ability to communicate and articulate. However, it has been noted that the philosophers have only provided generic trauma interpretations. They have not analyzed the symptoms and causes of early childhood trauma. Moreover, they have not spent time investigating the effect of trauma on children. Most children are diagnosed with ailments, but the causes remain unknown (Zeckey and Kammerlander 76). As the consequences of trauma are frequently ignored, the failure of counselors and researchers has resulted in the future of traumatized children being degraded.

It has long been assumed that adults and children have nearly identical brains. However, because of the children’s age, they are more vulnerable to experiences of trauma which forms mental and physical structures. Scholars have discovered that children’s and newborns’ memory of traumatic occurrences significantly affects youngsters (Fondren et al. 203). The scarcity of information on early childhood trauma has resulted due to the failure of scholars to indulge in-depth study of the causes of trauma. This limitation has hampered progress in finding an appropriate diagnosis of childhood trauma. Despite the efforts of health organizations such as the American counseling association and the association for child and adolescent counseling, child victims continue to suffer as the focus has been on health rather than the diagnosis of health-related problems. However, from the historical viewpoint of early childhood trauma, it has been noticed that counselors and society still lack appropriate information to safeguard young children from trauma.

Early Childhood Trauma: Causes, Consequences, and Revivification

Negligence of medical maltreatment, racism, rape of loved ones, and abduction have all affected youngers trauma below eight years. Early childhood trauma is linked to a byzantine child-parent interaction. According to research, children are traumatized by simply speculating about horrible occurrences such as murder and domestic violence (Fondren et al. 305). A child may not be directly subjected to sexual or physical abuse, but witnessing a distressing event can lead to trauma victimization. Trauma reaction varies in different children due to individual dissimilarities in their perception. Crying, shouting, trembling, inferiority nightmare, guilt, fear, loss of hunger and thirst, and avoidance in conversation are implications of trauma to a child (Gyasi 178). Moreover, children who have been through trauma lose interest in games and other hobbies and despise all kinds of interactions. Restlessness, irritation, confusion, and violence become familiar to them.

When traumatized children experience anxiety and resentment, they frequently demonstrate developmental skills, sleeping, and eating changes. They fail to deliver satisfactory academic results, and if they are sexually abused, they tend to act sadistically in the future. Separation, anxiety, and depression are familiar repercussions of trauma (HM, and C 32). Early childhood trauma has been discovered to have a long-term effect on children.

Counselors have failed to grasp symptomology with the implication of trauma in youngsters, resulting in their unquestionable loss. Child traumas victims become repeated victims, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder all of their lives. Children who have been victims of community and domestic violence have been diagnosed with PTSD.

Traumatized children frequently develop attention deficit disorder, periodic disorder, depressive disorder, and cognitive problems during the PTSD period. Brain damaged and delayed physical development is typical in young traumatized youngsters. Studies show that traumatized youngsters develop schizophrenia and psychosis (Trickey and Black 268). The individuals are identified to be involved in using cannabis to relieve depression and emotional strain; however, it worsens their mental and physical state. Trauma has significant effects on adults and children (Martin et al. 382). When a youngster is exposed to a traumatic occurrence, the control of metabolic and physiological processes is disrupted. Aside from deregulation, children who are repeatedly exposed o traumatic experiences become alcoholics; this propensity is more prevalent in female trauma victims. The issue is not of gender but of an individual attitude toward externally traumatic events.

Victims of child abuse can react quickly or take years to recover from previous post-traumatic events. Nachträglichkeit (‘deferred action’ of trauma) is this delayed reaction to past trauma. Research has also outlined that a person recalling a traumatic event has more influence than the event itself. Trauma does not present itself in horrific events; however, it exists in the participant’s memories, haunting them through a delayed action. When traumatized individuals are reminded of their original trauma or observe a comparable situation o associated signifiers, they are transported back to their unpleasant occurrences (Martin et al. 385). A single trauma becomes a repeated trauma, resulting in serious psychological or physical issues.

Trauma Treatment Techniques for Young Children

Family bonds that are nurtured can aid in preventing children from the severe consequences of traumatic events. Though traumatized youngsters are exposed to emotional instability and painful experiences, safety should be implanted in their brains since such attitudes prevent further deterioration of their psychological and physical states. Not only should sentiments of security and stability be created in their mind, but measures should be enhanced to guarantee that a traumatized child is socially, psychologically, and physically free of any approaching danger. Both the caregivers and parents should be sympathetic, available, and empathic to children who have experienced trauma to mitigate the harmful impacts of trauma (Parveen 52). A stable and solid child–parent relationship will lead to a compelling emotional connection. It aids in protecting young trauma victims from the deadly consequences of trauma. Young traumatized children benefit from caregivers who play a loving and positive role.

Although the practical work of caregivers and parents cannot restore the originality and freshness of traumatized children’s lives, their constant emotional attachment and care protect the children from further exacerbation during this time. Most of the lethal effects of trauma can be avoided if traumatized children are treated promptly and detected early. Healthcare workers, counselors, professional counselors, and parents should have a safe, secure, and trusting relationship so that they may transmit the required information transparently (Parveen 60). The protection of young traumatized children from further deterioration has benefited from empathy and the exchange of information for child victims. Community support groups, counselors, and mental health organizations intervene in the lives of children victims to reduce parental relationships, reducing family stress. Joint efforts can mitigate cataclysmic trauma impacts.


Young children are more vulnerable to trauma than adults as children’s bodies and psychic systems are still developing. The children have minimal awareness of their surroundings, which are full of exposure and stressful events. The children are still reliant on their caregivers or guardians for their support. If young children are exposed to distressing occurrences at a young age, the effects last for a lifetime. Parents or caregivers cannot cope with psychic disturbances independently if they neglect them. Their inability to communicate and their guardian’s ignorance leads to psychosis which has severe impacts. Young children benefit from psychological coaching; therefore, caregivers and parents should teach them to keep them safe from stressful occurrences. In addition, if young children are traumatized, they should be taught how to mitigate the pessimistic impacts of trauma. In safeguarding young children from trauma, it has become critical for all appropriate authorities, health officials, and organizations to maximize the protective elements (Trickey and Black 265). Legislators should develop children’s mental policies to ensure children’s security, well-being, and protection.

Works Cited

Darves-Bornoz, Jean-Michel. “Trauma in Rapes and Assaults.” Children, vol 8, no. 12, 2021, pp. 11-43. MDPI AG.

Fondren, Kaitlin, et al. “Buffering the Effects of Childhood Trauma Within the School Setting: A Systematic Review of Trauma-Informed and Trauma-Responsive Interventions Among Trauma-Affected Youth.” Children and Youth Services Review, vol 109, 2020, pp. 104-691. Elsevier BV.

Gyasi, Yaa. Homegoing. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2016, pp. 1- 320.

HM, Pascoe, and Hacking C. “Trauma Radiology: The Need for a Teaching Trauma Case Series.” Trauma And Emergency Care, vol 2, no. 6, 2017, pp. 23-45. Open Access Text Pvt, Ltd.

Martin, Ellen, et al. “Safeguarding Children in Trauma and Orthopaedics.” Orthopaedics and Trauma, vol 34, no. 6, 2020, pp. 379-389. Elsevier BV.

Parveen, Qaisara. “Prevalence of Mental Health Problems Among Young Children and Perceived Barriers to Receiving Mental Health Care.” PONTE International Scientific Researches Journal, vol 76, no. 6, 2020, pp. 23-67. Ponte Academic Journal.

Trickey, David, and Dora Black. “Long-Term Psychiatric Effects of Trauma on Children.” Trauma, vol 2, no. 4, 2000, pp. 261-268. SAGE Publications.

Zeckey, Christian, and Christian Kammerlander. “What’s New in Emergencies Trauma and Shock? Age and Trauma: Geriatric Trauma Patients and Geriatric Trauma Ward Services”. Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock, vol 10, no. 3, 2017, pp. 1-89. Medknow.

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PsychologyWriting. "Trauma and Its Effect on Children." April 17, 2023.