Can Children Really Have PTSD?


When we think about post-traumatic stress disorder, our minds typically imagine war veterans or perhaps police officers and firefighters. Sometimes we’ll think of people who endured something horrible, such as a terrible accident, a home invasion, or other shocking events. But few of us picture children. Our guest in this episode witnessed a murder when she was quite young. She shares how this impacted her life, which included time spent in the Witness Protection Program. Listen to hear about the symptoms of PTSD in children, how to identify and avoid triggers, “restorative justice,” and about breaking the cycle of violence.

Youth PTSD Show Highlights:

“I don’t know too many people that are just born bad. Something’s going on.” ~ Tonya McKenzie

[3:17]   What are symptoms of PTSD in children?

[5:36]   Observed violence and PTSD in children.

[7:57]   How can we improve how we deal with PTSD and kids?

[9:10]   What is “restorative justice”?

[12:07] Identifying and avoiding triggers.

[17:43] Breaking the cyclical nature of violence.



About Our Guest

Tonya McKenzie is an entrepreneur and principal of a public relations firm in Los Angeles. She has long been a child advocate and staunch supporter of children s rights. She co-authored the F.I.T. Kids Manual utilized by the Pittsburg School District (California), established several unique youth wellness programs and served on the Youth Council for Contra Costa County Supervisor Federal Glover. She discusses these stories and many more in her book, A Child’s Memories of Cartoons & Murder.


About The Psych Central Show Hosts

Gabe Howard is an award-winning writer and speaker who lives with bipolar and anxiety disorders. In addition to hosting The Psych Central Show, Gabe is an associate editor for He also runs an online Facebook community, The Positive Depression/Bipolar Happy Place, and invites you to join. To work with Gabe, please visit his website,



Vincent M. Wales is a former suicide prevention counselor who lives with persistent depressive disorder. In addition to co-hosting The Psych Central Show, Vincent is the author of several award-winning novels and the creator of costumed hero Dynamistress. Visit his websites at and






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