76 christian counseling today SPECIAL EDITION e Kids Experience Crises Too! Every year millions of kids face unex- pected crises or significant turning points in their lives. Sometimes they experi- ence their own personal crisis within their family system, such as with abuse, divorce, or suicide. And as they emerge from the cocoon of parental protection, the brokenness of the world confronts them dramatically in the devastation of storms like Katrina, school shootings like Columbine and Virginia Tech, or other natural or human-made disasters. These traumatic experiences may occur either directly or as a perceived threat through media reports. Crisis And Trauma In A Child’s Life Did you know that six out of 10 school- age children face some type of major loss before they graduate from high school? 1 Many of those losses are traumatic, which serves to multiply, lengthen, and amplify every aspect of the grief process. Wright says that “if the loss involves a trauma, the grief process can go on for years.” 2 Some people think that kids can’t experience trauma until they have devel- oped the cognitive ability between the ages of eight and 12 to understand what has happened. But that is untrue. Even a two-year-old who doesn’t have the verbal capacity to describe what has occurred is able to act out the traumatic event in play therapy. 3 Certainly, however, the young person’s age, developmental level and understanding of loss influ- ence treatment because these affect one’s ability to understand the meanings asso- ciated with traumatic events. SUSAN J. ZONNEBELT- SMEENGE AND ROBERT C. DEVRIES C O R E C O N S I D E R A T I O N S kids traumatized by a crisis Some people think that kids can’t experience trauma until they have developed the cognitive ability between the ages of eight and 12 to understand what has happened. But that is untrue.