Learning to cope with the traumatic injury of your child can be a difficult time for any parent, so here are some ways you may use to get through it.
Typically, the psychological wellbeing of parents’ plummets following the trauma of their child. Parents can experience low mood and post-traumatic stress symptoms such as flashbacks, heightened anxiety and sleepiness.
Not only is this an issue for the parents, it’s also bad for the child who needs them now more than ever. Especially when it comes to severe traumas, such as brain injuries in children, the child’s parents have to be at their best.
In this post, we’re going to share some advice on how to cope after your child suffers a traumatic injury so you can be the best parent you can be at this difficult time.
Coping After Your Child Survives A Traumatic Injury
Looking after yourself is as important as looking after your child at this time, so here are some ways you can do that.
1. Support From Family And Friends
Parents trying to cope with the traumatic injury of their child roundly report that support from friends and family help them more than anything.
It can be difficult at first to accept support but, once you’ve taken the plunge, the benefits are difficult to ignore. The people around you can help you talk through your experience, help you process your feelings, and come to terms with it all.
2. Psychological Support
Support from your friends and family is important, but sometimes you need professional help to help you cope with the traumatic injury of your child.
If you feel as though you’re experiencing symptoms of PTSD, or other severe psychological difficulties that are impacting your life, visiting your GP and asking them to refer you for psychological support might be the best way to help you cope.
3. Recognise That It’s Normal To Feel This Way
Every parent whose child goes through a traumatic event has trouble dealing with the situation. It’s important that you recognise what you’re feeling is normal and to give yourself the time and space to acknowledge what you’ve been through.
Blaming yourself for what happened, or for not being strong enough for your child, will only make things more difficult for you and them.
4. Try Relaxation Exercises
One way to give you more control over your mental health, and promote a feeling of calm when you need it, is through relaxation exercises.
It often takes a lot of time and practice to see the benefits of these exercises, so persevering with them is important. You should try and practice them both when you’re feeling calm and when you’re distressed and on edge.
5. Engage In Physical Activity
Another way to cope following your child’s traumatic injury is to be physically active. Physical activity can improve your mental health in the following ways:
- Improved sleep – by making you more tired at the end of the day.
- Happier moods – by releasing hormones that make you feel better and give you more mental energy.
- Managing stress, anxiety and intrusive thoughts – by releasing cortisol which manages stress, and by giving your brain something else to focus on during difficult times.
You can even involve your child in the physical exercise as it will help them burn off stress chemicals and improve their sleep.
6. Don’t Deprive Yourself Of Fun And Enjoyment
One of the best ways to get through difficult times in your life are to let loose and have some fun. Most of your time might be spent looking after your child after their traumatic accident, so finding time to ‘take a break’ and have fun will prevent you from burning out.
Also, taking a break doesn’t have to mean a break from your child. You can always do something fun with them and other family members to take some of the emphasis off the injury and let loose.
7. Be Realistic About Your Expectations For Your Child
If you’ve spoken to your child’s doctor, they’ll have given you an idea of when your child is likely to recover by, and what that recovery might look like.
Instead of expecting your child to magically get better, and feeling terrible when it doesn’t happen, it’s healthier to be realistic about what your child is likely to be able to do at each stage on their road to recovery.
8. Celebrate Small Victories
As well as being realistic about your child’s probable ‘road to recovery’, it’s a great mood booster to take notes of the incremental gains your child has made.
Looking back at old recordings six months down the line will really give you a sense of how far your child has come, which is difficult to do when you’re caught up in it. You can even celebrate these victories with your child, friends and family to really mark the occasion.
9. Give Your Child Some Control Over Their Life
As you start to see that your child is improving, it’s a good idea to start allocating basic tasks for them to perform. If you ever needed confirmation that your child is progressing, this would be it.
Try to give them tasks they can handle, such as allowing them to choose between two sandwich fillings at lunch and increase their difficulty as time goes on. Not only will this make you feel better about their progress, it will also help your child recover and regain some independence.
Learning To Cope After A Traumatic Injury Is Right Around The Corner
In this post, we’ve shared some fundamental ways to help you cope after your child’s traumatic accident. The ideas we’ve shared here are ones that parents who’ve been in your shoes have expressed most commonly. However, that doesn’t mean these are the only ways to cope. All parents cope with traumatic incidents differently and the only way you’ll know what works for you is to try them and see.
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained medical professional. Be sure to consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you’re seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.