Every preschooler becomes angry or distracted at times. The following symptoms might indicate the child has experienced a traumatic event if they are excessive or interfere with the child’s or family’s lives.

  • Unusually high level of anger/excessive temper
  • Tantrums that do not stop within a few minutes
  • Inability to be soothed or comforted
  • Aggression towards family and others
  • Verbal abuse towards others
  • Overly bossy or controlling
  • Disruptive (may be expelled from preschool due to behaviors)
  • Agitation
  • Difficulty focusing or learning
  • Development of learning disabilities
  • Poor skills development
  • Loss of skills, such as speech, use of the toilet
  • Bedwetting
  • Acting out in social situations
  • Fear of adults who remind them of the trauma
  • Fear of being separated from parent or caregiver
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Avoidance of eye contact and/or physical contact
  • Inability to trust others or make friends
  • Imitating the traumatic event
  • Heightened startle response (easily startled)
  • Terrified responses to sights, sounds, etc., that remind the child of the trauma
  • Eating problems such as loss of appetite, low weight or digestion issues
  • Lack of self confidence
  • Stomach aches and headaches
  • Loneliness
  • Confusion
  • Unusual clinginess
  • Overly obedient (fear of punishment for not obeying)
  • Wild eyed, especially when stressed
  • Nightmares
  • Sleeplessness
  • Irritability


More about symptoms:

Birth to Age 2

6 to 12 (elementary school)

13-18 (middle and high school)