Please be aware that some programs and video content are temporarily unavailable, as the CEMM transitions to a new website. This content will be available soon but if you have any questions or concerns please contact us here

Telling Your Children About TBI

TRANSCRIPT

ALAN
Gillian, Scott, how are things going for your family?

SCOTT
It’s been a tough week, Alan. We took Axel to the hospital to see his dad, and it didn’t go well. For either of them.

ALAN
I’m sorry to hear that.

GILLIAN
Yeah, Reid is still just so confused and not… not all there. I think it really upset Axel to see his daddy like that. And Reid… well, he’s still not able to speak … I could tell he was furious that we brought Axel.

SCOTT
He doesn’t want his son to see him in this condition. I tried to tell you that.

GILLIAN
I thought it would cheer him up. And Axel has been begging to see his dad. Poor little guy, his whole life has been turned upside down.

ALAN
Remind me again how old Axel is?

GILLIAN
He’s six.

ALAN
Having a parent with a TBI can be really frightening thing for a kid, especially if, like Reid, they don’t act the same way or they can’t do the same things they did before the injury. Some kids may feel like they’ve actually lost a parent. And for Axel, that means feeling like he’s lost both parents because his mom already isn’t around.

GILLIAN
Don’t even get me started on that woman.

ALAN
No, let’s stay focused on Axel here. Even though he’s young… kids are super perceptive. He may be grieving, or he may be really worried about his dad’s condition. Sometimes kids express grief or worry by acting out. They might withdraw from socializing with their friends, they might have mood swings, they could be disruptive, they could do poorly in school.

SCOTT
We haven’t had any of those problems, thank goodness.

ALAN
That’s good. It’s really important as well that you communicate to Axel that he’s not to blame for Reid’s TBI. That may seem obvious to us, but kids a lot of times feel responsible when bad things happen.

GILLIAN
I really shouldn’t have brought Axel to see his dad.

ALAN
Well, your instincts weren’t wrong, Gillian. It’s so very important to include kids in the recovery process, especially if Reid’s recovery takes years or if he ends up needing lifelong assistance. As Axel grows older, he may even want to help with some of the caregiving for his dad. But that can also be confusing and stressful to a kid who feels like the roles of parent and child have been reversed. So you have to make sure that Axel’s role is appropriate for his age. Have you explained what a TBI is to Axel?

SCOTT
No. We just told him his dad had been hurt on his motorcycle.

ALAN
Okay, I would suggest that you explain Reid’s injury to Axel in a way that he can understand it. Kids are often smarter than we give them credit for. The more he knows about his father’s injury, the better he’ll be able to cope with seeing Reid hooked up to all those machines and understanding how Reid has changed. You may even want to ask someone on the healthcare team to talk to Axel.

GILLIAN
Okay.

SCOTT
Hmm. That’s good.