What is Childhood Trauma? Types, Impacts, Treatment

According to an estimate, 46% of kids experience traumatic events in their younger years. Usually, adults say that kids are resilient and they would forget about it when they grow old, but the traumatic experience in the young impacts their whole life. Today, we’ll discuss what is childhood trauma; its types, impacts, and treatment.  

What is Childhood Trauma? 

Childhood trauma comprises traumatic events that the child experiences; and it develops a fear that is life-threatening, dangerous, and violent. Childhood trauma also goes by the name of ACEs (adverse childhood experiences). Different types of experiences would cause the development of trauma.

Continuously living in a stressful environment like the target of bullying and living in a dangerous neighborhood is traumatic for children. It feels like daily routine life in their adulthood. However, childhood doesn’t mean that the child directly has to experience it. If they saw their loved ones going through medical pain, it could equally be traumatic for them.

If children experience something upsetting, then it doesn’t mean that is traumatic or traumatizing.

Types of Childhood Trauma

Some of the main types of childhood trauma are as follows;


Bullying is a type of harassment that is habitual and repetitive, and it could happen in person or online on social media. It comprises any unprovoked action that focuses on harming the other person either psychologically or physically. However, it is especially towards a person that has limited power than you either socially or physically. When a bullying kid inflicts pain on the other child, then it impacts them throughout their whole life.

Violence of Community

The direction of the community violence is not towards the child, but it exposes the child to violent behaviors and actions. They could be police brutality, riot, school shooting, and gang violence. Whether the community violence is direct or indirect, it has got associated with various negative mental issues impacting the child.

Complex Trauma

Complex trauma comprises repetitive episodes of traumatic events and victimization. The exposure of the victim to various types of traumatic events at once is much more difficult and complicated than exposure to only one type of traumatic event.


Whether it’s man-made or natural disasters; the traumatic experiences relevant to disaster expose the person to various types of situations. They’re like a breakdown of the structure of community, hardships, homelessness, disruption, and losing loved ones. However, when a person is exposed to such disastrous events, then it results in the form of poor psychological health.

Partners Violence

The traumatic event of partner violence is similar to community violence, where it is not directed toward the child. But it exposes the child to the violent atmosphere of the house, and often it is towards one or more members of the family. It could be emotional or physical abuse of the child, and it badly impacts the mental development of the child.

Medical Trauma

It also goes by the name of “pediatric medical trauma stress” and it happens due to one or various medical treatments. Growing kids perceive worldly information differently; they think that the pain is a form of punishment that they did something wrong, and it has caused them injury.

Physical Abuse

It happens due to the physical traumatic event comprising of harming, hitting, beating, and slapping the child. The physical abuse is intentional and non-accidental. The injuries could vary from death in severe cases, to fractured skulls, and broken bones. It results in the form of serious mental issues both in the short term and long term.

Refugee Trauma

It’s a type when the child and child’s family are in the process of relocation and displacement when their home country is under war or other forms of violence. Studies have shown that exposure to traumatic events of the war would result in the form of very bad impact on the mental health of the children.


The separation from parents and other family members has a bad impact on the mental development of the child. It is one of the severe forms of traumatic events.

Sexual Abuse

It also goes by the name of sexual molestation, where the adult employs the child for sexual stimulation and activity. Child sexual abuse could happen in various forms and it leaves very bad and negative marks on the mental development of the child.

Traumatic Grief

Traumatic grief is different for the child to grieve and he doesn’t know how to deal with the loss of his loved ones. It usually happens when death happens due to a violent act or sudden illness.

Impacts of Childhood Trauma 

Some of the main effects on the child due to childhood trauma are as follows;

Relationship Impacts

The relationship of the child with their parents, grandparents, and caregivers plays a significant role in their development. The attachment with their caregivers teaches them how to connect with the world around them, manage their emotions, and establish trusting relationships.

However, when they experience traumatic events from their caregivers, then they learn that people are dangerous and the world is untrustworthy. With such a mindset, they have difficulty building relationships throughout their life.

Psychological Impacts

The traumatic events would make the child experience the following types of mental health issues;

  • Psychotic Disorder
  • PTSD
  • High level of stress
  • Emotional distress
  • Depression
  • Anger control issues

When kids have to go through complex trauma, then they develop dissociation as a coping mechanism to separate themselves. They think that they’re experiencing the traumatic event from outside and it’s not their body. However, they lose the memory of the traumatic events and it results in the form of memory gaps.

Physical Health Impacts

When kid experiences traumatic events in their early years, then it stops their physical development. The impairment would impact their central nervous system, and it makes it harder for them to reach their full potential. The exposure to the traumatic events would amplify the risk of developing following physical health issues;

  • Strokes
  • Diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Asthma

Treatment of Childhood Trauma 

The social support system plays an important role in decreasing the effects of traumatic events; it also reduces the risk of suicidal idealization among children. The social support system works in the following ways;

  • It motivates children to share their feelings and emotions and acknowledge them
  • Accepting the fact that it wasn’t their fault
  • Honestly answering the questions
  • Making sure that they would remain safe
  • Following the daily routine
  • Be patient

Some of the therapeutic approaches that experts suggest are as follows;

Conclusion: What is Childhood Trauma? Types, Impacts, Treatment 

After an in-depth study of what is childhood trauma; its types; impacts, and treatment plan; we have realized that traumatic experiences at an early age badly impacts a person. If you have gone through it, then you should consult the therapist and work on the treatment plan.