Whether it’s a school shooting, the death of a family member, or losing a friend in a car accident, teenagers deal with trauma in different ways. Many turn to drugs and alcohol after a severe event because they don’t get the support they need to make it through. If your teen has experienced a devastation and turned to drugs as a way of coping, there are drug detox programs that can help them get back on the road to recovery. There are other avenues you’ll want to explore as well.
Consider Professional Help
One of the first things you should do after your teen experiences a trauma is look into getting them professional help. There are several places to consider and many health care professionals out there that are willing to help you and your child cope with the tragedy. It’s best to look into these places as soon as possible after a trauma, so that your teen can get the help they need to return to some semblance of normalcy.
Help Your Teen to Feel Safe Again
Most teenagers don’t like to show that they are vulnerable and may try to act like they are just fine, when inside they’re terrified and not sure they will ever be safe again. Hugging them often and letting them know that you’re there whenever they want to talk is the first step in helping them to feel safe once again. When they return to school, though they should not be pushed, trusted teachers can also help to make your teen feel safe in that environment as well.
Make Sure they Feel Helpful
Assigning small household tasks to your teenager will not only keep them occupied, but let them feel useful again as well. However, it’s important not to overburden your teen with too many tasks, especially adult ones, because that could increase their anxiety and make the problem worse, instead of helping them to start getting better.
Consider Peer Groups
Sometimes being a part of a peer group can help your child to open up, as they feel more comfortable talking to children who are their own age, or close to it. Be careful of the peer group you choose, however, and still try to get your teen to talk to a trusted adult, such as a teacher, pastor, or relative.
While it may be hard, the biggest thing you can do to help your teen recover from a trauma is have patience and seek comfort in the knowledge that you’re doing all you can to help them with their recovery. Love and patience are the two things that your child needs from you that will help them the most in the long run.
These are just a few tips to follow so that you can help your teen if they have been through a traumatic experience. Talking, patience, and love are the best tools you have in your arsenal.