Children Can Also Suffer Trauma

Probably every one of us has an experience that is scary. Usually, you can recover quite well from such a scary moment. However, some things weigh so heavily that they leave lasting, deep wounds. Abuse by parents, bad beatings, or other situations in which we feel helpless does not pass us by without leaving a trace.

After such situations, one may repeatedly relive the unpleasant events in one’s head. In dreams or recurring memories, a crisis situation then returns again and again to the life of those affected. This is called trauma. Serious secondary diseases can be associated with trauma. In severe cases, it is a long way until one can live normally again. However, some people never manage to return to normality.

Traumas Are Consequences Of Boundary Violations

Traumas occur after one has been under severe stress. They develop because of frightening situations in which you feel helpless. When someone crosses your boundaries and gets too close to you, it triggers stress. It is especially bad when you cannot defend yourself because you are weaker or smaller than the offender. Many children experience this feeling when they are beaten or humiliated by their parents. Humiliation means being put down by someone. If someone makes fun of you or insults you, that is humiliation.

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Many people suffer trauma because they have been victims of natural disasters. If one’s own house is destroyed and perhaps even relatives have died in the process, this is a great burden. Children in particular can rarely deal with such strokes of fate without becoming fearful. All over the world, many children suffer from trauma when they live in a war zone and have to witness terrible things. You see: this phenomenon exists all over the world.

Fear And Mistrust – How Traumatized Children Feel

Trauma like this can manifest itself in different ways. On the one hand, it can be that one suffers from recurring, obsessive memories. Then it is the case that one actually no longer wants to think about the past but simply cannot forget it. Images, scraps of words, sounds, or even smells then keep reappearing. No matter how hard you try to shoo them away, you can’t do anything about it.

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Sometimes you also get strong fears. You have the feeling that you can’t do this or that because so many things could happen. Completely frightened, you withdraw more and more. In the end, you don’t dare to do anything because you are constantly afraid. This fear is always particularly bad when something reminds you of the traumatizing situation (experience of violence, abuse,…).

This can go so far that traumatized children no longer have trust in their fellow human beings. Some no longer have a good attitude towards their lives and think everything is meaningless. They feel powerless and no longer have the courage to fight against it.

Every child can react differently to stress. So it can be just as well to become hyperactive. This means that a child has to move constantly and becomes very restless. It may talk extremely much or need more attention than others.

But they all have one thing in common: most traumatized children feel empty and hopeless. Many are constantly nervous and feel threatened for no reason.

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If you don’t get help as a traumatized person, then this can lead to mental illness. Normally, you need a therapist or other professionals with whom you can talk about your experiences. This helps to get rid of fears. If you don’t have this possibility, your condition will get worse and worse. That is why it is important to get help early enough when one starts to feel strange.

This Is What To Do

If you know someone who is giving you a scared impression, get help together. Talk to a guidance counselor or another trusted adult about it.

Together, you can figure out how to proceed. In most cases, a visit to the doctor is necessary. He or she can write a prescription for calming medication. Usually, you get herbal drops that are well tolerated and help immediately. Then one should get a prescription for psychotherapy. This also requires talking to a doctor. He has a list of appropriate phone numbers and addresses you can contact to start psychotherapy.

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You can also call the telephone counseling service. If you are from Germany, dial 0800/1110111 or 0800/1110222. From Austria and Switzerland, you can reach them by dialing 147 at no additional cost.

Worksheet For The Text

1) Explain the difficult words from the text.
What does…

  • Trauma.
  • Humiliation.

2) How can trauma occur? What incidents can trigger trauma? Write down what you remembered.

3) How do you know you have trauma? What symptoms do you experience?

Photo: airdone /

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