Psychologist says strong caregiver is key in children overcoming trauma

Psychologist says strong caregiver is key in children overcoming trauma

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - A 10-month-old child is now without a mother. Police say Amanda Mangas was shot to death in a home in Delta earlier this week.

Her son Winston was then abducted. While he was found unharmed, a traumatic case like this is something the baby will have to work through.

Psychologists say even children that young can have memories of such a traumatic life event.

Adrienne Elhi is a psychologist and also the director of Promedica's Cullen Center. She says there's healing in strong relationships and one of the most important things for kids who experience trauma is to have a stable caregiver.

"They should let the child know, 'I'm here if you if you want to talk about it or if you don't want to talk about it,'" explained Elhi. "Whatever you want to do is fine. Because some children, especially young children, what helps them heal is to play it out or to talk about it over and over."

Elhi says kids process trauma different than adults because they're changing rapidly, so they may seem okay for a while and then things change when they reach a new developmental stage.

"For instance, you see a child who's maybe been sexually abused at a young age, but everything seems okay, but then they hit the teenage years and it hits them in a different way because they're starting intimate relationships."

Elhi says even children as young at 10 months old can go through therapy with their caregiver because while they may not have verbal memories, they do have memories in their bodies. She says unfortunately, she does work with a lot of children who have experienced trauma.

But she adds, kids are fairly resilient.

"If we have a supportive caregiver, supportive person in our life, we're probably gonna get through it," Elhi said.

Elhi says not all kids need therapy to get through traumatic events, but always pay attention and keep an eye on things like sleep disturbances, eating problems and temper tantrums.

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