How 8 year olds respond to trauma
The emotional growth spurt that occurs around 7 years of age continues and by the time a child turns 8 he starts to converse with others at an almost adult level. The emotional development of a 8 year old can take parents and children on a roller-coaster ride. Eight year olds have a need to understand the reasons for things. In cases of trauma or personal loss they may want to reason over why things happened.Their logical thinking begins to develop even further and their thoughts start to get organized. This is not always true of the emotional side of a 8 year old. They can be rude, selfish and bossy the one minute and helpful, pleasant and cheerful the next – emotions change quickly when you are 8. Emotions like fear and anxiousness can dominate their lives when exposed to trauma.
Patience is not yet a virtue at this age as they do not like to wait. They can be very sensitive and real “drama-queens” – being overly dramatic when upset. Though it may not seem like it, they still have a strong need to be loved and understood, especially by their mom.
Friends and peer-pressure begins to influence their behavior. When traumatized or stressed they tend to cope better when they feel part of a group – that they are not the only one dealing with this issue.
Early childhood trauma
In recent years it became evident that children as young as 8 are able to become extremely violent, in some cases killing adults. When exposed to traumatic events such as child abuse, neglect and domestic violence a child of 8 can become violent themselves.
Some of the long-term effects of trauma on a child can be (but isn’t necessarily) the following.
- PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder)
- Coping skills such as problem solving, interpersonal communication and adaptive skills will be weakened.
Traumatized 8 year old could have the same behavioral fall-outs mentioned for 7 year olds. In many cases intervention by professional counselors is essential to break the negative cycle of trauma in a child’s life.