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Recognizing When Your Child Is Distressed

Children are sensitive and can struggle to make sense of events that are traumatizing and deadly. There are common symptoms people experience following a traumatic event. Your children may experience only some or many of these:  

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Stomach and/or digestive problems
  • Bed-wetting, thumb-sucking, acting out or other behaviors from when they were younger
  • Reduced awareness or lack of concentration
  • Difficulty paying attention at school, forgetting to complete or turn in assignments
  • Feeling numb or not part of the world
  • Isolation, spending more time alone and less time with friends
  • Indecisive
  • Helplessness/hopelessness 
  • Bad dreams or flashbacks
  • Feeling like the scary event is happening again
  • Scary thoughts they can’t control
  • Staying away from people and places that are reminders of what happened
  • Feeling worried, guilty or sad
  • Lack of responsiveness
  • Lack of interest in things that once interested them
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Changes in appetite or eating habits
  • Feeling on edge, nervous or easily startled
  • Irritable and angry outbursts
  • More conflict with teachers, friends, siblings and parents
  • Thoughts of self-harm or hurting others 

If your child exhibits these or other concerning behaviors for more than two weeks, seek professional help.  For additional advice, help and resources on parenting through a crisis situation, contact the Boys Town National Hotline at 1-800-448-3000. Trained counselors are available 24/7.

 
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