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How to I help my child cope after a car accident?

If your children have experienced a car accident in Maryland, they may need help dealing with their emotions and fears for a long time afterward. Even adults may struggle with trauma after car crashes, but young people could suffer more because they often do not know how to process their feelings. If your kids are very young, they could even develop irrational fears based on their experience.

Child Trauma Academy offers some tips for how to help your kids cope with an accident. Above all else, communication is key. Even if your children do not know how to put their feelings into words, it may be helpful for you to talk through the event with them. However, they should initiate the conversation. If they express interest in what happened, your willingness to provide answers may help them feel more secure. During the conversations, be sure to use simplified language whenever necessary, and help the children understand that they are not at fault for what happened. Often children assume unnecessary responsibility for negative experiences, and alleviating their guilt may help them to recover more quickly.

During the coping process, follow your children's cues. Everyone processes trauma differently, and your children may take varying lengths of time to recover. Whether they need to talk in extensive detail many times about the crash, or re-enact it with toys and drawings, respond with patience and reassurance. Be prepared to answer questions whenever possible. However, persistent signs of trauma after several months may indicate a deeper issue. At that time, they may benefit from additional emotional help.

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