• Warning Signs for Children and Teens

    Children are often the most vulnerable of those impacted during and after a disaster or crisis. According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, a growing body of research has established that children as young as infancy may be affected by events that threaten their safety or the safety of their parents or caregivers.

    These are unfamiliar events that are not easily understood by children, who can find them emotionally confusing and frightening. During the time of turmoil, they may be left with a person unfamiliar to them and provided with limited information. Some warning signs of distress in children ages 6 to 11 include:

    • Withdrawing from playgroups and friends
    • Competing more for the attention of parents and teachers
    • Being unwilling to leave home
    • Being less interested in schoolwork
    • Becoming aggressive
    • Having added conflict with peers or parents
    • Having difficulty concentrating


    For teens, the impact varies depending on how much of a disruption the disaster or crisis causes their family or community. Teens ages 12 to 18 are likely to have physical complaints when under stress or be less interested in schoolwork, chores, or other responsibilities.

    Although some teens may compete vigorously for attention from parents and teachers after a disaster, they also may:

    From: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Adminstration (SAMHSA)

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