The webinar introduced 12 core concepts in evaluating traumatic stress responses in children. First of all, trauma is inherently complex — it is made of different events that build up into trauma (NCTSN, 2021). It occurs in a broad context and may reflect children’s personality, experience, and current condition (NCTSN, 2021). Traumatic situations frequently result in secondary adversities, such as life changes and upsetting reminders in children’s daily lives.
What triggers this kind of traumatic response is the behavior of parents. Children may not overhear direct conversations when their parents’ relationship is struggling. However, they might be able to pick up specific cues from the physical response of their parents, such as lip biting, change of tone, quietness, or sleepiness of parents instigates fear in children (NCTSN, 2021). They do not feel protected by the adults and become stranded or alienated.
Children’s response to trauma could be manifested in a variety of ways. Their reactions to traumatic situations are based on developmental neurobiology. One of the speakers, Chandra Ghosh Ippen, compared it to the behavior of certain animals (NCTSN, 2021): Dog—some children might be akin to fighters and might bark or growl. Some move around a lot, similar to rabbits, and are not concentrated. Some hide within like turtles, slow down, and feel issues through their bodies. Monkey—some become clingy and search for comfort in people around. Skunk describes children that prefer to push people away and demonstrate nasty behavior. Some are like squirrels, talk a lot about things, are frustrated, and have sleeping problems. Some develop issues with eating and lose their voice, and they experience a developmental regression. Meerkats do not exhibit any kind of presence and strive to be out of the body. Elephants are those that try to avoid every disturbance and direct confrontations and acknowledgment of the problems’ existence. In the lives of traumatized children, danger and safety are paramount considerations.
Traumatic events impact the family and the caregiving system as a whole. Working with traumatized children can cause clinicians discomfort, making it more challenging to deliver quality treatment. Moreover, social contract challenges such as legal and ethical difficulties have an impact on trauma reaction and rehabilitation (NCTSN, 2021). These challenges during COVID could be expressed in the difficulty of receiving support from the job center. Institutions that are supposed to protect people become unresponsive and harm them either directly or indirectly, contributing to the existing difficulties and issues. It is by such neglect when institutions are not responsive to the personal situations of households, a sense of helplessness and hopelessness becomes more pronounced. The situation is especially dreadful if a person is alone or does not have any form of comfort or protection to turn to.
Adversities such as trauma and post-trauma can have a significant impact on development. Traumatic events, responses, and rehabilitation are all intertwined with culture (NCTSN, 2021). Its adverse effects are comparable to minority oppression or xenophobia. In a way, it also demonstrates the ways to elevate adverse effects. Although protective and promotional elements can mitigate trauma, it is necessary to honestly acknowledge and authentically embrace both creative and collaborative ways to apply these core concepts for intervention strategies. In addition, the intervention should strengthen not only adults but also youth acknowledgment as individuals; alignment with the local cultural knowledge and dynamics of the existing community-based strengths will beneficially affect the change in the community.
NCTSN. (2021). Understanding The Impact of COVID-19 Through the Lens of the Core Concepts [Video]. Web.