Statistics show that a high percentage of children and young people in the UK suffer from emotional and behavioural problems. For many the root causes will go back to early childhood trauma or attachment issues.
Because children’s brains are still developing, early experiences have a much greater influence on their understanding of themselves, on their sense of the world and on their ability to regulate themselves. If these issues are not addressed, as they get older they are likely to be at a higher risk than others of involvement with the police and mental health services. They may find it hard to parent their own children, to hold down a steady job and to find any level of personal fulfilment.
Trauma is a distressing event that is outside the range of usual human experience. It involves a sense of intense fear, terror, and helplessness and brings a powerful and prolonged stress response which overwhelms the ability to cope with the experience.
A single trauma includes:
Repeated traumatic events include:
Children can respond to the same trauma in different ways. Some appear to bounce back quickly while others display a range of responses including:
‘Traumatic experiences shake the foundations of our beliefs about safety, and shatter our assumptions of trust. Because they are so far outside what we would expect, these events provoke reactions that feel strange and “crazy”. Perhaps the most helpful thing I can say here is that even though these reactions are unusual and disturbing, they are typical and expectable. By and large, these are normal responses to abnormal events’. – David Baldwin