Does My Child Have PTSD? What To Do When Your Child Is Hurting from the Inside Out by Jolene Philo

Does My Child Have PTSD? What To Do When Your Child Is Hurting from the Inside Out by Jolene Philo

Does my child have PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder? Is this a question you ask yourself from time to time or, if like many, you thought only adults like war veterans have it? If you are looking for a mother’s story and latest research about children with PTSD this book will surely be helpful, “Does My Child Have PTSD? What To Do When Your Child Is Hurting from the Inside Out by Jolene Philo. If you have a child who struggles try to get to the root of the problem because it could be PTSD.

Jolene Philo has written five books as I write this post in March of 2016. Find links to posts about most of those books and where to buy them at the end of this post. We also have an awesome interview with Jolene Philo. 

On The National Center for PTSD web site I read an article titled, “PTSD in Children and Adolescents” by Jessica Hamblen, PhD and Erin Barnett, PhD. 

What events cause PTSD in children?

Any life threatening event or event that threatens physical harm can cause PTSD. These events may include:

  • sexual abuse or violence (does not require threat of harm)
  • physical abuse
  • natural or man made disasters, such as fires, hurricanes, or floods
  • violent crimes such as kidnapping or school shootings
  • motor vehicle accidents such as automobile and plane crashes

PTSD can also occur after witnessing violence. These events may include exposure to:

  • community violence
  • domestic violence
  • war

Finally, in some cases learning about these events happening to someone close to you can cause PTSD.

Jolene Philo’s book provides a needed resource for parents of children who have experienced trauma. According to recent studies, 50 to 60 percent of children who experience these traumas early in life may suffer from a form of PTSD, leading to issues in childhood, through adolescence, and even into adulthood. PTSD is gaining global recognition as a very real and serious issue for those who have experienced traumatic events, even children.

Does My Child Have PTSD? is designed for parents, therapists, teachers and any caregiver looking for answers about the puzzling, disturbing behaviors of children in their care. With years of research and personal experience with her own son, Jolene Philo provides critical information to help people understand causes, symptoms, prevention, and effective diagnosis, treatment, and care for children struggling with PTSD.

Guest Post by Jolene Philo

Does My Child Have PTSD?

What To Do When Your Child Is Hurting from the Inside Out

Description, purpose, and audience:

I am the mother of a son who was diagnosed with a life-threatening condition at birth and endured years of medical treatment. As a young adult, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) caused by early medical experiences.

Parenting our son through both invasive medical treatment and mental illness changed me. I watched our son, Allen, endure frequent, necessary, and painful medical surgeries and procedures from birth to age four. I watched him suffer from the devastating effects of undiagnosed PTSD for twenty-six long years. Then I watched trained clinicians relieve his mental anguish in one week.

Out of those experiences grew a conviction and desire to help other families dealing with childhood PTSD, whether it was caused by invasive medical procedure, abuse, natural disasters, death, divorce, or other traumas. I want parents to have the keys that can release their children from the mental illness that held my son prisoner for over two decades. I want children afflicted with PTSD to receive the early and effective treatment that will allow them to be kids again. I want them to know the truth about their trauma, so the truth can set them free.

Does My Child Have PTSD? was written out of that conviction and desire. It addresses several major areas associated with PTSD in children: myths and misconceptions, history, current research, anatomy of PTSD, causes, symptoms, diagnosis and misdiagnosis, prevention, treatment, and advocacy.

It was written to increase understanding of why kids with PTSD behave as they do, to guide their caregivers to treatments that can free children from the prison of trauma, and to equip adults to explain the reality of childhood PTSD to people who don’t believe the condition exists. Does My Child Have PTSD? is designed to transform parents, guardians, educators, heath care workers, day care providers, and others who love and work with children afflicted by PTSD into educated, effective advocates for traumatized children.

Short excerpt from Does My Child Have PTSD? What To Do When Your Child Is Hurting from the Inside Out

Chapter 2: Is My Child Traumatized?

“Simple childhood trauma is much like a skinned knee. It hurts. It stings. The emotional pain hangs around for a while. But if a caring adult encourages the child to share feelings, listens when the child repeatedly talks about the event to process it, and checks now and then to make sure the child is healing, the emotional injury fades away and becomes a distant memory in a few months.

PTSD in children is like a skinned knee left untreated. Or one that received a brief surface cleaning that missed the gravel hidden under the skin. An untreated skinned knee can become inflamed and infected. If neglected for too long, the infection can lead to blood poisoning and affect the entire body.

In the same way, a simple but untreated trauma can get stuck in the brain. Childhood PTSD occurs when children are unable to dispel the strong emotions and energy (those bits of gravel caught under the skin) caused by their physical response to a traumatic event. Events similar to the original trauma can trigger the stuck memory and cause more emotional damage. Neglected for too long, the stuck memories infect a person’s thinking and lead to unhealthy behaviors and thought patterns.

After an overwhelming event, children often need someone to acknowledge the reality of the emotional feelings and physical sensations they’re experiencing. They need someone to administer emotional first aid, clean the emotional wound, and tweeze out the embedded bits of memory so they can process and release any pent-up energy. Otherwise, their initial response may become trapped in the brain and “infect” their responses to future traumatic events. Once that happens, the memory begins to fester, and simple trauma turns into PTSD.”

About the Author:

Jolene Philo Author of Does My Child Have PTSD? What To Do When Your Child Is Hurting from the Inside Out Jolene Philo has advocated within the health care community for decades. She parented a child who lived with PTSD for twenty-six years and accompanied him during successful treatment for PTSD rooted in early, invasive medical procedures. Philo is a former educator with twenty-five years of public school experience, and the author of five books about special needs and caregiving. She speaks frequently at special needs and foster care conferences around the country and hosts a blog about parenting children with special needs at Jolene and her husband live in Iowa. They have two adult children and three grandchildren.

Follow Jolene Philo

READ Also:

Buy Every Child Welcome: A Ministry Handbook for Including Kids with Special Needs (April 2015) by Jolene Philo Different Dream Parenting: A Practical Guide to Raising a Child with Special Needs by Jolene Philoand Katie Wetherbee 

Buy Jolene Philo’s Books:

  • Does My Child Have PTSD? What To Do When Your Child Is Hurting from the Inside Out (October, 2015)
  • Different Dream Parenting: A Practical Guide to Raising a Child with Special Needs (November 1, 2011) 
  • A Different Dream for My Child: Meditations for Parents of Critically or Chronically Ill Children (August 1, 2009) 

This post was written by Lorna
Lorna d’Entremont: Co-owner of SentioLife Solutions, Ltd. the company behind KidCompanions Chewelry (2007) and SentioCHEWS (2013), mother of three, grandma of 5 and wife. She is a retired teacher and special needs advocate. Throughout she has taught all levels from grade 2 to grade 9. Lorna loved teaching and enjoyed seeing the students progress in the school system. During her 30 year career she took a few years off to raise her three children.