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Helping children understand brain injuries

Many people focus on the victim when a traumatic brain injury occurs, but the victim isn't the only person who suffers. Other family members can be impacted by these injuries. It can be hard for some people who have this type of injury to think about how their loved ones are being affected. When children are in the picture, there is often an increased challenge.

When parents or another close family member suffers a traumatic brain injury, children often need a lot of help understanding what is going on and learning how to cope with the changes.

Some people tend to treat children like miniature adults, but they aren't and can't be expected to handle traumatic events with the same methods that an adult would. Here are some points for you to consider while helping children deal with a loved one's brain injury:

Keep things age-appropriate

You have to keep everything you say at a level that enables the children to understand what is going on. You can't explain the injury or impacts to a 5-year-old in the same way that you would explain them to a teenager. Even though it might be tempting to keep things from the children, this may not be a good idea. You don't want to scare the children with details but you don't want to give them false hope either.

Find the tools to help the children

Children will need help to process what is going on but they won't all need the same help. You will have to help children find the tools to allow them to work through the challenges. These can range from professional therapy to getting time away from the stressful situations that can occur when someone has a brain injury.

Don't rely on the children

Sometimes, adults will rely on children more than they should after the accident. It is important that children be allowed to be to be children. While they can help out around the house and with some other care tasks, you shouldn't treat them like they are adults who should have the burden of responsibility.

All of this can be an extra burden on the adults in the home, but helping children to work through issues now could enable them to be more compassionate and helpful when they reach adulthood.

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