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Supporting children who have been effected by TBI

Hi everyone,

Just wondering if anyone else has a little one who has been effected by a family member having a TBI?

I have a 3 year old and his grandad (my dad) has been in hospital the past 10 weeks. He misses him desperately but although I’ve spoken to him about the accident I haven’t taken him to see him. He’s seen photos and videos, because he has asked and I don’t want to keep things from him.

Anyway, he has become so emotional and is struggling in many ways. His behaviour has changed and I’m worried about him. He’s been through so much for such a young age!

Just wondered if anyone knows of any help out there for young children following a family member being severely hurt in an accident?

Lauren x

12 Replies
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I'm so sorry to hear your sad news and it must be really difficult for your little one. I suppose all you can do is be there for him and support him in every way. I hope your dad gets better soon and everything works out ok for you and your son x

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Thank you. I’m trying to be open and honest with him while still protecting him. It’s so hard x

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I went through the same thing when my dad was seriously ill. And i agree it is very hard to look strong for your children but really your dying inside. I hope things get better real soon for you xx

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My grandson was 4 when I disappeared suddenly with a bleed on the brain. My daughter made excuses for my absence for the first week but soon had to explain I was ill in hospital. She chose to soften the news with tales of the 'lovely hospital with lovely Drs and nurses', but he knew something was amiss because of her couple of hours absence each night (visiting me) and he saw she was stressed & preoccupied for several weeks.

Once I was transferred to the rehab ward my daughter explained to him that I had been really poorly but I was much better and would soon be coming home. But in the meantime, he'd been sending drawings and sweeties to cheer me up. I think that little bit of inclusion was important to him and, though I wasn't in great spirits, my daughter reported back that I was ever so pleased with his little gifts.

So there was quite a bit of deception involved, but I think an edited version of events is enough for a young child to cope with. A lie could have backfired it things had taken an unpleasant turn and the truth could have been overwhelming for such a young mind. And things are back to 'ordinary' so far as he's concerned !

I hope your dad will rally before too long and be able to reassure your son for himself.

All best wishes, Cat x

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Thank you and glad you’re feeling better. He’s been making lots of cards and sending teddies and think including him in things makes him a bit happier. He’s just scared of people leaving him and not coming back like grandad now x

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My grandson was quite 'raw' at the time as his great grand-dad had just passed away along with two other family members. We're not religious so he believes that when people die they go to the moon..............?? but he just wasn't ready to part with me (& I obviously wasn't ready to go to the moon.......... :-(

Give your little man a hug from me ! xx

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Aw bless him. Well I’m glad you didn’t have to put your space suit on yet! Luckily little ones are resilient. X

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They usually are ! He can talk quite casually now about 'When you were ill that time' but of course he's 10 now.............and all grown up (he thinks). x

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Hi Lauren. I had to tell my 2 children when they were very young what to do if mummy 'suddenly fell asleep' and they couldn't wake her. It was difficult because I didn't want to frighten them. But I decided to be honest with them and although I avoided an in-depth discussion I did tell them I had a medical condition that could turn serious if not treated asap. Could the hospital your dad is in or the local health clinic provide some information specially designed to help young children understand TBI? Mine were very good and provided a child-friendly pamphlet that explained in language they would understand. This also helped them recognise they weren't alone and that other children go through this too. Best of luck.

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Thank you I’ll have to have a look into it x

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Lauren,

How is all going with your dad. Hope you are holding up. Thinking of you. Xx

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Thank you for asking Susan. My dad had his cranioplasty surgery on Saturday and it went well. It was so nice to see him with a round head!! He’s obviously very sleep after such big surgery but doing ok.

They now think he could be moved to a rehab centre by the end of this week but wasn’t the preferred one for us so not sure what to do...the rest of us are holding up ok thank you xx

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