Trauma Signs

Possible Behaviors of Traumatized Children

Children who experience trauma are likely to demonstrate their upset through their behavior before they verbally tell someone what has happened to them. The following are possible behaviors that traumatized children may exhibit. Please note that isolated incidents of these behaviors do not necessarily indicate some kind of trauma, however, children who do manifest clusters of these behaviors should warrant further assessment.

Younger Children

  • Agitation, hyperactivity, irritability, or aggressiveness
  • Bedwetting
  • Elimination problems
  • Explicit sexual knowledge, behavior, or language unusual for their age
  • Frequent genital infections
  • Involuntary urination or defecation problems
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nightmares and other sleeping disturbances
  • Unexplained gagging
  • Withdrawal

Older Children

  • Attention getting or delinquent behavior
  • Change in school performance
  • Chemical abuse
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders such as anorexia, obesity, sudden weight gain or loss
  • Limited social life
  • Overly seductive behavior, promiscuity, or prostitution
  • Poor self-image
  • Recurrent physical complaints such as infections, cramping or abdominal pains, muscle aches, dizziness, gagging and severe headaches
  • Running away or an aversion to going home
  • Self-mutilations such as cutting
  • Suicide attempts
  • Truancy
  • Withdrawal