Helping Children Cope
Sensitivity and Support Helps Kids Understand
In most cases, families are affected in some way by a relative’s brain injury experience. But children can be impacted significantly as the family dynamic changes and everyone must adapt to new circumstances. Living with an adult who has endured a brain injury can be intimidating for children. The injury and rehabilitation are foreign to children and it is imperative to be sensitive to their reactions and emotions. The family member they once knew is different now, and this can confuse and frighten a child.
Responses to the brain injury can vary. They may pull back from friends and family, become angry, act out, or lose interest in school. Children need the patience and understanding of everyone during this time of adjustment. Speaking honestly – and with sensitivity – about what has occurred can help children understand and cope. Seek the guidance of a health care professional or the counseling staff at CNS for guidance on how to approach this subject.
Keeping chores and activities in the child’s schedule is helpful. It fosters a normalcy they are familiar with. Soccer, homework, play dates, and cleaning their bedroom are all routines that can focus children on their lives, friends, and responsibilities.
Talk openly and regularly among family members about feelings, concerns, and ways you can help each other deal with new issues. Maintaining open lines of communication with children is critical, but the information shared about the injured person should be oriented toward their age and stage of development. The articles below provide suggestions of how to approach these challenges: