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Identifying Trauma in Your Child: Key Signs to Look For

After a severe shock or medical procedure, especially if anesthesia was used, unusual behaviors in your child may indicate trauma. Compulsive, repetitive actions, such as continuously crashing a toy car into a doll, often indicate unresolved traumatic events. Other signs of trauma-related stress include:

• Stubborn or controlling behavior 

• Regression to earlier behaviors, such as thumb-sucking 

• Anger and uncontrollable outbursts of rage 

• Hyperactivity 

• Being easily startled 

• Frequent night terrors or nightmares

• Kicking and thrashing in sleep 

• Bedwetting 

• Inability to concentrate at school and forgetfulness 

• Being overly aggressive or overly shy, withdrawn, or very fearful 

• Clinginess and a strong need for attachment 

• Stomach aches, headaches, or other unexplained ailments

To determine if unusual behavior is a trauma response, try bringing up the past event that scared your child and observe their reaction. A traumatized child may not want to hear about the event, or conversely, may become very excited or frightened and cannot stop talking about it.

Extracted from “Healing Trauma: A Pioneering Program for Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body”

by Peter A. Levine

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