Emotional needs of children and complex trauma

In healthy families the emotional needs of the children are usually met. Not all the time. Parents may fail partially and that may not be a problem. Research has shown that if parents meet the emotional needs of the children in about one third of the time, it go’s well and the child can feel relatively safe at home. But when there is emotional neglect or abuse at home, the child cannot feel safe at home.  In case of emotional neglect the emotional needs of the children are not met, and in emotional abuse the emotional needs of the children are exploited for the benefit of the parents needs instead. When that happens structurally to their children the children will be traumatized, not just a single time, but there will be so called complex trauma. In complex trauma the child is exposed to multiple forms of perceived danger (in the eyes of the child), in ongoing situations where they don’t feel safe, and the parents don’t comfort the child nor ensure its safety. (Tim Fletcher: Speech “Complex Trauma”).

It’s important to note that it is about the danger that the child perceives and that might be not actual danger.

FreyaJoy Tinbergen MSc
Psychologist, sexologist, registered therapist RBCZ Amsterdam

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Psycholoog, seksuoloog en registertherapeut RBCZ Amsterdam