Coping with Trauma as a Teen: A Parent’s Guide
Trauma comes in many forms. Physical trauma, emotional trauma, sexual trauma — it can happen to all of us, even children. Regardless of how much you wish to spare your child from such horrors, it is not always possible, and how you react can leave lasting scars almost as deep as the trauma itself.
That is why it is important to read this guide, so that you can help your teen cope with trauma and move on from it. Ignoring the problem and hoping that it gets better on its own is the worst thing that you can do for your child.
Let Your Child Talk Openly to You About the Trauma
It can be very hard to hear your teen talk about the trauma they have faced. You don’t want your child to hurt for anything, and hearing how badly they have been wounded is difficult. Never avoid that conversation though — when they are ready to talk, you need to be brave for them. Ignoring or avoiding the conversation will make them feel silenced, and in turn, they will likely internalize the hurt and pain.
Don’t Dictate How they Feel or How they Should Respond
People respond to trauma in different ways. If your child responds in a way that you don’t recognize, don’t berate them or make assumptions. Similarly, if you have faced a similar trauma, don’t automatically assume your child needs to respond the way you did.
Know How Trauma Can Impact their Life
Understanding how trauma can impact their mental health and life can help you prepare in advance. Many people who experience trauma turn inwards and block themselves out from the world at large. If this is what your child starts to do then creating reasons for them to get out and about can be beneficial. Know how trauma can impact their life so that you can help them get back on their feet.
Know When to Turn to Professional Care
You do not have all the answers. You do not have all the tools. Knowing when you are over your head and that your teen’s mental health and trauma are too much for you to help with successfully, is one of the most difficult aspects of being a parent.
When your teen is suffering from trauma, the best thing is to sign them up for support such as Ignite Teen Treatment, where they can gain the help of professional therapists and find the right solution.
Prioritize Quality Time and Create a Safe Space
In all cases, your teen will need a safe space to retreat to. No matter how much progress they have made, there may be relapses. Creating a safe space at home and between yourself and your child is a great place to start, as it gives your teen someone to confide in when things start to look down again.
Be Understanding and Patient
There is no timeline for how long it will take for your child to overcome the trauma. It might take months, it might take years, or your child might relapse and feel the after-effects for their entire life. Be understanding and patient, and support your teen to help them recover as much of themselves as they can after the incident.