Over the past decade, psychologists have been highly concerned about the effect of traumatic events on health and well-being. Developmental trauma disorder “can include such experiences as sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, neglect, war, community violence, traumatic loss, betrayal or disruption of primary attachment relationships and chronic emotional dysregulation of caregivers” (as cited in Gregorowski & Seedat, 2013, p. 106). This essay will examine the effects of traumatic experiences in child development and the impact of spiritual growth on trauma recovery. Among trauma effects, there are attachment and emotional dysregulation, impairments in cognition and learning, and behavioral enactments.
Disrupted relationships in early childhood may have a life-long detrimental effect on child development. Among the factors that lead to developmental delays might be inadequate psychological assistance and neglect. These factors contribute to the harmful impact on children’s minds and behavior and intervene with the resilience capacity. Resilience is what helps people to overcome traumas, but they cannot be entirely eliminated. Thus, to aid children with trauma recovery, it is essential to understand the effects of psychological injuries.
One of the effects of traumatic events is attachment and emotional dysregulation. Dysregulation can include numbing, emotional lability, and failing to communicate the needs (Gregorowski & Seedat, 2013). When children experience weak or disrupted attachment due to traumatic loss, abuse, or betrayal, they cannot develop the ability to manage their emotions. Thus, chronically traumatized children fail to share their feelings with others.
Traumatic experiences also affect cognition and learning, which is an essential component of childhood development. In early childhood, children develop crucial capacities such as talking, symbolism, and differentiation between the self and others (Gregorowski & Seedat, 2013). Traumatization during this critical period may lead to false categorization of what is happening around so that children perceive stimuli and experiences as potentially traumatic and dangerous and respond accordingly. This results in suppression of learning and curiosity and leads to strong memory of traumatic events.
The last effect of traumas is behavioral enactments in which children become aggressive, take part of the abuser, or become engaged in self-harm. This results from the intense impact such as shame and rage and difficulties associated with affective regulation (Gregorowski & Seedat, 2013). Behavioral challenges such as impulsivity, social withdrawal, aggression, and defiance prevent children from establishing attachment relationships, which is highly crucial for healthy early development.
Numerous specialists have researched the topic of trauma and resilience and found a relationship between two notions. In their studies, Collin-Vezina et al. (2011) point to the most vulnerable group of youth who have been traumatized. These are sexually abused females and youth who experienced four to five forms of trauma. The last group was less likely to develop resilience than the remaining groups. Fierman and Fine (2014) claim that to promote resilience, children should not be withdrawn from their families as it would put additional stress on them. On the contrary, parents should receive psychological aid that addresses the behavior and behavior of their children.
It was found although spirituality cannot undo the trauma, it can help to overcome the event. Some of the strategies for trauma coping are building spiritual connection, seeking support from God, developing divine forgiveness, and seeing benefits as a way to mind strengthening. However, trauma and religion can interact with and disrupt one’s trust. Thus, it is essential to acknowledge that if a child’s connection to religion is weak, pointing to faith after exposure to trauma can be detrimental to the child’s beliefs.
To conclude, traumatic events include experiences that put people at risk of harm or death and seriously affect their mental health. The effects of trauma on children include attachment and emotional dysregulation, impairments in cognition and learning, and behavioral enactments. The severity of injury affects the ability of a person to develop resilience. One of the ways to resilience is spiritual development, but it has to be perceived cautiously.
Collin-Vézina, D., Coleman, K., Milne, L., Sell, J., & Daigneault, I. (2011). Trauma experiences, maltreatment-related impairments, and resilience among child welfare youth in residential care. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 9(5), 577–589.
Fierman, J., & Fine, L. (2014). Trauma and resilience: A new look at legal advocacy for youth in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Juvenile Law Center, 1-47. Web.
Gregorowski, C., & Seedat, S. (2013). Addressing childhood trauma in a developmental context. Journal of Child & Adolescent Mental Health, 25(2), 105-118.