How To Help Your Teen Cope With Emotional Trauma

Updated on July 22, 2021

Watching your teen struggle with the trauma they’ve endured can often make us feel very helpless. However, the truth is that we have the ability to help our adolescents far more than we think. Whether it’s mental health issues, substance abuse, behavioral issues, or beyond, there is hope for our children. Still, where do you begin? If you’re looking to help your child cope with emotional trauma and lead a better quality of life, here are a few tips to help make the journey easier for all parties involved.

Get your child the support that they need to overcome their trauma.


Reaching out for help is the first step to take in order to improve your teen’s mental health. While this may sound simple, the truth is that you need to find a treatment plan that works best for their unique needs. For example, if your child is struggling with mental illness as a result of their emotional trauma but is still functional in their day-to-day, reaching out to a therapist like those at The Berkshire Therapy Group can be a great way to jumpstart their healing journey. This therapy group focuses on leveraging data-driven treatment methods to help teens work through the symptoms of their mental illness and offers personalized therapist fits and continued guidance to maintain their progress.

In some cases, however, counseling may not be enough. Instead, teens who are experiencing severe mental health issues, exhibiting dangerous behaviors, or those who have a substance use disorder will often need the support of a treatment center with clinical psychologists that can offer residential treatment. If family therapy or your local counselor may not be enough, look for teen residential therapy instead. A residential program is designed to help treat young adults using effective treatment models (medication and different types of therapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and experiential therapy) while keeping them in a safe, supportive environment until they’ve been given the tools they need to thrive. Whether it’s OCD, mood disorders, or bipolar disorder they’re dealing with, a residential program is a safe place where they can get the support they need.

In some situations, the emotional trauma that a teen has experienced can end up making its way to the legal system. Whether this trauma was at the hands of an adult or another child, they may find themselves either facing abusers in the courtroom or ending up on the other side of the situation where they are facing jail or prison time. In special cases like these, working with a forensic psychologist who can determine whether your child is competent to stand trial or one who can learn more about the situation and whether or not they’re fit to testify is important. This won’t pertain to every parent and their teen, but for special cases, knowing where to turn can be a major relief for parents.

No matter what your teen may be going through, the resources listed above can help you get your teen the help they need to heal from their emotional trauma.

Work with your teen to help them develop healthy coping mechanisms.

When coping with emotional trauma, it can be easy to develop a host of unhealthy coping mechanisms that allow us to work through these difficult feelings. For example, some teens may turn to self-harm, drinking, or drug abuse in order to deal with their experiences. Meanwhile, others may turn to food or other items that aren’t the healthiest for them but make them feel better. To give your teen the tools they need to work through their trauma more effectively, help them cultivate healthy coping mechanisms.

Healthy coping mechanisms may look like talking to family and friends when things become overwhelming, working through difficult emotions by expressing these emotions through art or a journal, and practicing self-care by getting plenty of sleep, exercising, and eating right. Although they will learn these types of skills in therapy, having your support to make sure they follow through on these new coping mechanisms will help them establish a greater foundation for their mental health and wellness.

Help your teen move forward from their trauma as best as you can.


As your teen will learn, trauma doesn’t define who they are or what they choose to do. Along with giving them all the tools they need to heal, make sure that you’re helping them lead their best lives as well. Allow them to go out and make new friends, work with them to discover their interests, and give them whatever they need to move past old trauma and into new experiences. This doesn’t mean that they won’t have bad days, but it does mean that they will create a new life they enjoy rather than isolating themselves and ruminating on past situations they can’t change.

The teenage years are filled with all kinds of situations that can be traumatic. However, while we can’t turn back the clock, we can help them cope with these feelings and experiences. If your teen has undergone some type of emotional trauma, use the guide above to help them deal with this trauma and begin the healing process so they can work towards a better tomorrow.

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