Taking Care of a Child with TBI

Posted on December 4, 2021

When a child is inflicted with a brain injury, parents and family members experience sorrow, guilt, anger, and concern. To assist your child with the recovery process, it is essential to involve close and responsible peers. True friends can really help your child build back their self-esteem and help them through the rehab process.

How much peers can get involved will depend on the child's age, comfort level, and distance from the rehab facility or home. Supportive peers can help a child with TBI cope with changes in appearance, cognitive, personality, and behavior changes and hopefully transition back into the community.

Watching your child struggle can be painful and difficult. All the changes can hurt your child's self-esteem, coupled with the uncertainty of recovery, and can have a tremendous emotional impact. Encourage your child, be patient, and communicate with your child.

Listen to your child's feelings as they are what they feel. The loss that your child is experiencing is actual and accompanied by emotional reactions and expressions. The support and strength from family, social workers, counselors, and psychologists will help your child through the recovery process. 

Changes in family roles may cause younger siblings to take up responsibilities for their injured sibling. The child may perceive this as being restrictive and controlling. Parents may struggle to balance their instincts to overprotect their child for safety reasons. 

Though returning home is a positive step towards recovery, it is often more difficult on the child who previously enjoyed a socially active lifestyle. Sometimes even support from friends and family may be inadequate to prevent inappropriate social or immature behavior. 

The child adjusts to the losses and adaptations to goals and dreams for the future. 

Caregiving as a parent can be emotionally draining as your child re-enters life at home and school. Returning to school is another milestone that children, parents, teachers, and peers have to deal with. And that is when your child will experience all they could do before and now what they can do. 

Your child's motivation and feelings can fluctuate when they face setbacks. Consistent family support, encouragement, and positive feedback will help with their recovery.

 It is crucial to re-instill confidence and self-worth as your child relearns and regains skills.

It can be challenging to understand the degree of a brain injury on personality, problem-solving, memory, and language. With the help of professionals, try to rebuild the lost skills and, in the meantime, be sensitive to the child's needs and anger and grief surrounding the loss of skills.

Allow your child to exercise freedom and feel responsible by doing chores around the house. Talk to neighbors and friends to help your child regain freedom by supervising and monitoring your child’s activities. Open communication within your family will help establish a foundation for alleviating stress, solving problems, and strengthening relationships.

Helping your child manage losses can be complex and challenging. Establish strong support of friends, neighbors, family, religious community members, school personnel, and health care professionals. 

Maintaining a child's mental well-being is crucial during the recovery process. Seek the support of school counselors, psychologists, and professional family counseling and support groups. If your child feels frustrated, depressed, stressed out, and isolated, it is likely that the whole family is being affected.

Encourage your child to deal with one day at a time by setting small goals and gradually working towards achieving larger ones.