Being a parent is difficult at even the best of times. Not only have you or your partner brought someone new into the world or have brought someone new into your life to become part of your family, but you are now responsible for this person indefinitely. That is a lot of pressure for someone to take on! However, if you think about quadrupling that pressure, you might get somewhere near what it could feel like to look after a child with a traumatic brain injury.
A brain injury can happen to anyone at any time, but when a child is born with one, it can be difficult to navigate for both the parents or caregivers and the child.
This piece sheds some light on two coping tips that could help parents of children with TBIs.
Communication is Key
Communication is so important in so many situations, and having an open dialogue with your child on how they are feeling and the reasons as to why they are acting a specific way can create a safe space for them to express themselves. The same goes for you as a caregiver. When you are looking after a child with a traumatic brain injury, it could feel very easy to shut off and isolate yourself – even from other family members who are with you in these circumstances. Do not forget communication for yourself too, whether that is with loved ones or a professional for advice. For families whose child has suffered a permanent brain injury and it is believed that this could have been avoided had the appropriate level of medical care been provided, speak to a birth injury specialist such as Diane Rostron about making a claim for compensation in order to meet the affected child’s extensive complex needs including specialist equipment, care, a range of therapies and adapted accommodation.
Understanding and Patience
While all children need understanding and patience, often to a very high degree, those that have a traumatic brain injury will most likely need next-level empathy to help them get through their situation.
If your child is born with a traumatic brain injury, one of the ‘positives’ that could be taken from this situation is that they will not know any different, which might be easier for them to deal with in the long run. However, this is a slight silver lining, as they will still have to navigate their growth and development throughout the different stages of their life, all while comparing their experience to their peers.
It can be difficult for some children with TBIs to do what we see as very simple tasks or explain how they are feeling, so a willingness to recognise this at every opportunity will help your child be able to cope better.
That being said, do not forget to share this understanding and patience with yourself. Reach out to those who are on a similar journey to you and enlist professional help to make sure your wellbeing stays in check.
A traumatic brain injury is rarely good news, especially when you have a newborn, so remember to show yourself kindness.