As we celebrate April the month of the Military Child it is only fitting to address an issue that each military child will confront as their parents come home, PTSD. This can be a very sensitive issue to all parties involved but helping the kiddos understand why Mom or Dad is agitated will allow them to be comfortable while the healing begins.
Some of the signs you may see in your elementary-age child is aggressiveness at school or even acting like the parent with PTSD. You may see your young child take on the role of care-taker and change overnight to acting more “grown up” then they really are. Teenagers are a different sort, with the raging hormones and more access to negative ways to cope like drugs & alcohol amongst others. These are all signs to look for but, again, you know your child so if you notice any sudden changes in them start a conversation to promote understanding.
The first step is have a talk with them to help your child make sense of why the parent is acting strangely. This is so important because just like adults we internalize the attitudes around us and children may end up thinking it is their fault. Talking with them assures that this is not the case and gives a chance to try and explain why their parent is hurting – without having to go through the gory details.
In addition seek help that involves the entire family. I know this is a difficult one because of the stigma of seeking help through therapy. Yet it is family therapy that helps the parent who suffers from PTSD as well as allowing the family members to find ways to get the support they need as well. This kind of group therapy is best after the parent with PTSD has already received trauma therapy first. This way the parent can help the child during their therapy sessions.
Also give your child positive outlets to express their feelings. This is what I call a center. This is something they can center themselves around to help when negative feelings arrive. Some get into sports, dance classes, church activates, painting or writing, follow your child’s instincts to help them channel their emotions.
There are so many resources out there to guide you and your children through these challenging times. This biggest thing is for you to find out as much as possible about PTSD so you can help move your family forward in a positive direction. World Education.net offers a course to help students in many different areas of understanding PTSD and other disabilities. Our Professional Enrichment short courses will not break the bank but help you grow in your personal or professional life. To learn more, chat with an advisor live on our website www.worldeducation.net, or call us at 1-855-201-6910.
Be sure to bookmark or subscribe to our blog to get the latest updates.
“Helping Military Children Understand PTSD” by World Education.net is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.