It’s an unfortunate truth – childhood trauma exists

If you’re like most of us, the very phrase “childhood trauma” automatically strikes a note of fear. No one wants it to happen and no one wants to see trauma in a child they love. Unfortunately, childhood trauma does happen. Research shows that roughly 20% to 25% of children in the United States will experience some form of childhood trauma before they reach adulthood. But there is hope. You can do something to prevent, identify and overcome trauma for your child. It all starts when you Look Through Their Eyes.

Some Leading Causes

The most common causes of childhood trauma include:
  • Accidents
  • Bullying/cyberbullying
  • Chaos or dysfunction in the house (such as domestic violence, parent with a mental illness, substance abuse or incarcerated)
  • Death of a loved one
  • Emotional abuse or neglect
  • Physical abuse or neglect
  • Separation from a parent or caregiver
  • Sexual abuse
  • Stress caused by poverty
  • Sudden and/or serious medical condition
  • Violence (at home, at school, or in the surrounding community)
  • War/terrorism

BULLYING - It Happens More Than You Think

Bullying is an all too frequent occurrence today, with nearly 30% of students ages 12 to 18 reporting being bullied at school and more than 70% reporting having seen bullying happen. Bullying can cause lasting problems for both the person bullied and the person doing the bullying and, in some cases, may lead to childhood trauma. While most bullying happens at school, it can occur anywhere – like a playground, school bus or at someone’s home. Bullying online, known as cyberbullying, is also a growing concern.   Learn More

How Can I Identify Childhood Trauma?


Birth – Age 2

  • Unusual clinginess
  • Agitation
  • Tantrums that don’t stop within a few minutes

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Ages 3 – 5

  • Difficulty focusing or learning
  • Unusual clinginess
  • High level of anger or excessive temper

Learn More


Ages 6 – 12

  • Sleeplessness and/or nightmares
  • Irritability
  • School problems

Learn More


Age 13 – 18

  • Self harm
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression

Learn More

What Can I Do To Help?

Here are four things you can do to help a child deal with trauma:
  1. Create an environment of safety
  2. Provide adult support.
  3. Teach them self-soothing techniques. 
  4. Build on their strengths. 
Learn More

Where Can I Turn For Support?

For information to help you understand more about the prevention, identification and treatment of childhood trauma, turn to these leading organizations:
To get support for your child in Illinois, click on this link. It will take you to a list of agencies in Illinois organized by the age of child they serve and also their geographic locations.