EPIC Blog: How Your Trauma Affects Your Children - 4KIDS
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EPIC Blog: How Your Trauma Affects Your Children

January 4th, 2024 l Author: Josiane Mendonca, MSW

Many people experience some form of trauma in their lifetime, whether it be big or small. When these traumas are not dealt with or worked through, they can show up as unhealthy attachment styles leading to strained relationships. It’s very common for adults to suppress their emotional needs, but as a parent or caregiver, it’s important to be aware of how this trauma response can affect your children. According to multiple studies, unhealed emotional wounds can be passed down from generation to generation, so working through these past hurts can greatly increase your child’s outcome for a healthy attachment style.

Children need deep care and attention. If your mind is cluttered in your past experiences, however, it can be difficult to show your children the level of care they need. There are several things you can do as an adult to help clear your mind and work through these emotions. Here are three to start with:

  1. Acknowledge your trauma. When you begin to grasp your own lived experiences and acknowledge that they happened, this can help work through the emotions surrounding it. Locking these events down, diminishing their impact, or pushing the feelings away can create more stress surrounding the trauma, but acknowledging it is the first step to healing.
  2. Talk to someone about how you feel. It’s easy to suppress emotions as an adult and walk through life with a mask on—we may pretend like everything is O.K. when in fact, trauma that happened to us in the past is affecting us negatively in the present. Speaking with a mental health professional can help you understand and find healthy ways to cope with the underlying thoughts causing certain triggers or emotions.
  3. Take time to refill your cup. Life can get busy fast, especially with children, so making time to get outside to clear your head can have a great impact on your mentality around certain situations. Spend some alone time in prayer, have game nights with friends, make time for a hobby—whatever it is, make sure you spend time doing things that bring YOU joy.

Healing is a journey that can be long and at times painful, but deeply rewarding. Be patient with both yourself and your children as you work through new experiences together. Take the time to celebrate wins throughout the process, and know that although there may be setbacks, taking the time to do your own inner work will translate into healthy relationships and emotional stability for your children as they grow up.

“I lift my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” – Psalm 121 1-2