When a child is injured or traumatized in some way, it’s not unusual for the parents to also experience some emotional impact from the trauma. This is called secondary traumatic stress, or STS, and it’s a form of persistent emotional distress that comes from dealing with your child’s trauma firsthand. STS is more than just feeling burnt out; its signs and symptoms are similar to posttraumatic stress. And parents with their own history of trauma can be especially vulnerable to STS.
Turn on the news or check your phone updates and it seems like we are being inundated with the news of traumatic events around the world, in our hometowns, and in our schools. It can be overwhelming as adults, but imagine how overwhelming it can be for children. Sometimes, it is easy to forget that our children are affected by the traumatic events around them even if they can’t articulate the impact they have on them at times. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) estimates that about two thirds of U.S. children have experienced a traumatic event by age sixteen but have difficulty coping with the impact of that trauma. If left unaddressed, the effects of trauma can impact a child’s ability to thrive in school. Here’s what you need to know about helping children thrive in school (and life) despite the trauma they’ve experienced.