Traumatic stress looks different on everyone. A wide range of things can qualify as a traumatic experience for children and teens. It can be a personal experience. But it doesn’t have to be.
If your daughter has recently experienced a traumatic event, it is crucial that you respond appropriately. Your response can influence the way that they react to the event. Use resources to educate yourself on signs and effects of trauma on children. Also, you should locate professional sources that are available to help.
Helping Your Daughter Work Through Traumatic Stress
Here are some suggested practices for helping your daughter recover from a traumatic experience and rediscover her happiness:
Mute or minimize the media
Media coverage to be further traumatizing. Repeated exposure to broadcasts of a disturbing event can create traumatic stress in children even if it did not impact them directly.
Don’t allow your child to watch the news or check social media before bed. Utilize parental controls on the TV, computer, and tablet. This will help prevent your child from excessive exposure to a disturbing event.
View and process news reports of the traumatic event with your child. Offer reassurance during the broadcast. Help place information in context. Remind them they are safe.
Engage your child
Acknowledge and validate their emotions and concerns. Traumatic events can spark unrelated fears and issues. Your child finds comfort from feeling understood and accepted. Acknowledge their fears even if they seem irrelevant.
Keep the norm as much as possible. Do things that have nothing to do with the traumatic event. Encourage your child to hang out with friends, play sports, and engage in hobbies that they enjoyed before the traumatic event.
Keep Her Healthy
Physical activity can benefit your daughter in many ways. It is a great way to use adrenaline, release mood-enhancing endorphins, and enhance sleeping abilities.
Find your child’s fit. Activities such as basketball, soccer, running, martial arts, or swimming that require full-body movement help stimulate your child’s nervous system from that “stuck” feeling that often follows a traumatic experience. Identify what they enjoy and keep them motivated to engage in the activity or sport.
The food your child eats can significantly impact her mood and ability to cope with traumatic stress. Whole, minimally processed food—food that is as close to its natural form as possible should be the center of your child’s diet.
Rebuild trust and safety
Trauma can changes one’s perception of the world around them. Your daughter may struggle with the ability to trust her surrounding environment and other people. Help rebuild your child’s sense of safety and security.
Create regular routines. Put a predictable structure and schedule to your child’s life. This can make her feel more stable and at peace, knowing what to expect. Schedule regular times for meals, homework, and activities.
Make home a happy place. Allow home to be a space and time for rest, play, and fun.
Keep your own peace. The more calm, rested, and composed you are, the better you’ll be able to offer support to your child.
Asheville Academy for Girls can help
Asheville Academy for Girls is a therapeutic boarding school for girls ages 10-14. This program helps young girls recognize their potential. Therapeutic elements and activities are used to help build student’s self-esteem and self-awareness. Teaching young girls to manage their emotions and sharpening their social skills is also a key component of the program. Family members included as an important part of the healing process. Students leave this program feeling more confident and well-equipped to lead happy, healthy lives.
Contact us at 800-264-8709.