Help Children Rebuild Trust After Trauma

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What Can Happen After Emotional Trauma

A child’s trust can become shattered when emotional trauma occurs.

Traumatized children do not believe the world is safe or that adults will protect them. They often live in fear of what could happen next. All children need calm and caring caregivers, but especially traumatized children.  Remaining comforting when your child is agitated or scared can help your child heal.

Children need to learn that adults can be dependable, caring, patient and loving following a divorce, bullying incident or child abuse. Parents can become their children’s secure base by being emotionally available, sensitive, responsive and helpful. Parents can learn when not to push and when to hold back. Most of all, parents need to feel confident that they can help their child move through their healing process.


 6 Steps To Heal and Rebuild Trust

  1. Accept Feelings
    Anxiety, irritability, anger and depression are normal reactions to loss and trauma and will subside over time in a safe environment.
  2. Be Patient And Supportive
    It takes time to heal; each child’s path to recovery is unique; offer comfort and reassurance and be available when they are ready.
  3. Maintain Consistency
    Structure and routines enhance security and stability; provide appropriate rules, expectations, boundaries and consequences.
  4. Promote A Sense Of Control
    Children feel helpless and powerless in response to trauma; help them believe they can successfully deal with challenges via constructive activities (e.g., hobbies, sports, clubs, volunteering).
  5. Make Home A Safe Place
    Your home should be a “safe haven,”a place of comfort, security and peace; stress and chaos provokes traumatic reactions; minimize conflict and discipline with calmness and love.

Rebuilding trust takes time, patience and a great deal of strength on every parent’s part. Remember your dreams for your child can be rebuilt. They just may look a bit different.

Dr. Sue Cornbluth is a nationally recognized parenting expert in high conflict parenting situations. She is a regular mental health contributor for an array of networks and television shows such as NBC, FOX and CBS. Dr. Sue has also contributed to several national publications. Her new best-selling book, Building Self Esteem in Children and Teens Who Are Adopted or Fostered is available now. To find out more about her work, please visit Dr. Sue’s website.

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