How Trauma Affects Children and Teens | Bay Area Martial Arts

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Shonnon Schey reviewed Bay Area Martial Arts
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I signed my kindergartener daughter in the six-week promotion to see if she would enjoy martial arts. I knew after her first class that this was going to be truly enriching for her, and she loves going to her classes.
I love that the classes are age specific- and you can see how the teaching styles are geared towards each age group. As explained by Sensei Adrian in our assessment- four-year-olds and seven-year-olds are capable of different things at different times. Having them in age-appropriate classes will help them succeed because they are with their peers.
The instructors are firm but fair, and are amazing with a large group of kids. They don't coddle anyone, they have the same expectations of everyone.
I'm proud of how my daughter has taken to BAMA in such a short time. She has gotten stronger and already shows more self discipline (as much as can be expected from a five-year-old)!
My husband and I are so happy that we found Bay Area Martial Arts!

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My son just started and I already can see the difference in him. Thank you. This place is GREAT! You all should see if your child or children like it.

Leah Martin reviewed Bay Area Martial Arts
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My 13 year old son started at the dojo when he was 5 and my 9 year old daughter started when she was 3. Bringing them here has turned out to be one of the best decisions that my husband and I made for our children. The amount of focus and discipline that they have learned through martial arts has encompassed all parts of their lives. Both are excellent students and know how to stick up for themselves. My daughter will not think twice about being an ally for someone else. I am blown away by their self confidence. They have learned that you can succeed at anything you put your mind to with hard work and perseverance.

While learning the skills of working hard and self esteem, students get a great work out and have fun with Sifu Adrian and Sensei Ceci. They create a nurturing environment where children learn skills at their appropriate developmental stage. They have become family and I am forever grateful for all that they have done for my children.

Kelly Correll Brown reviewed Bay Area Martial Arts
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My 7 year old son started at Bay Area Martial Arts in January of this year. After nearly 6 months I have seen such a change in him both physically and emotionally. My son was always scared of trying new things - like riding a scooter or doing a handstand - because his balance has never been that great. Martial arts has really helped him build confidence and the physical strength to try new things. Respect for yourself, your family, and people in the wider world is something that he is learning and doing. Sensei Adrian, Nate, and Ceci have been so wonderful not just to our son, but to our whole family. They really care about these kids - not just to make them ninjas (because lets face it... what kid doesn't want to be a ninja?!?!), but about helping them be the best version of themselves that they can be. Thanks so much you guys!!!!

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How Trauma Affects Children and Teens

As we continue to navigate the unchartered waters of the current pandemic, many are looking to the future and what it holds. And while it’s hard to predict how long our current daily life modifications will last, what we do know is that the experience of this trauma will have personal changes that could last for years to come. Trauma can affect people of any age and in varying ways. Children and teens are especially vulnerable since development has not stopped. Understanding the effects of the current pandemic is key in helping them bounce back faster when life returns to “normal.”

Children are, undoubtedly, resilient. However, this doesn’t automatically mean that they won’t suffer after a traumatic event. And while children from homes that were unstable prior to our COVID-19 crisis will be more affected, any child could suffer from symptoms of PTSD following this. During trauma, the brain is inundated with Cortisol, the stress hormone, and changes in the brain can result. This is especially true for children and teens who are still undergoing brain development. And since children are always viewed as resilient, parents and caregivers often miss signs of stress and, therefore, miss out on opportunities to help.

Just as children and teens react to daily events in different ways, they also react to trauma differently. Younger children may exhibit symptoms such as clinginess, increased tantrums, regressive behaviors such as bed-wetting or thumb-sucking, and stomachaches. Those in the middle childhood stage may become more irritable, have difficulty concentrating, develop irrational fears, and have nightmares. Pre-teens and teens show warning signs such as anxiety, loss of interest in activities, disrespect, and self-destructive behaviors. It’s important to note, however, that even among the same age groups, reactions to the same traumatic event will look different.

The good thing is, not all children and teens will develop long-lasting symptoms following trauma. However, being able to recognize and respond to acute stress is imperative as well. By being attuned and connecting with their children, parents can create an age-appropriate dialogue for children and teens to talk about their feelings. Implementing a healthy diet and decreasing sugar intake will also reduce stress. Along with this, role-modeling healthy coping skills will also instill behaviors that will be useful in the future.

After most traumatic events, people rely on their friends, family, and community to help ease the stress. And, although, we can’t be “together” like we usually are, we can still utilize each other. For children and teens this means keeping some routine things in

place to provide an outlet. Virtual play dates with friends, social media games and virtual sports training can all keep children and teens connected to other friends, other caregivers, and coaches. Keeping them engaged in fun activities will help them build confidence again and stay connected to people that love and support them.

The effects of this pandemic will continue long after the reopening of our country and may create long term stamps on generations affected. And while we can’t predict the ways each person will be affected, we must be knowledgeable of the ways trauma presents itself in our children and teens so we can be proactive in our approach and help them bounce back quickly. Preserving connectedness for children and teens to their community will increase their ability to feel secure, even in the midst of uncertainty.

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Sensei Adrian