Children visiting the hospital
If you are the parent at home, trying to keep routines going, maintaining stability and looking after the children may be quite a challenge in the first few weeks.
Visiting the hospital regularly can be time-consuming and tiring, but it is very helpful for children to have regular contact with the person who has the SCI. If regular visits are impossible, encourage them to speak on the telephone or communicate by email or in writing.
Children are naturally inquisitive and although they may find the hospital environment a bit intimidating at first, they will soon want to touch or hug their relative, ask questions, and want to understand what all the tubes and bits of machinery are about.
Teenagers may be more reticent or feel embarrassed or angry about the injury, with conflicting feelings between love for the person with the SCI and resentment that they are receiving all the attention.
Both teenagers and younger children need a place to openly ask questions to learn more about the limitations and challenges that the person with the SCI will face when they return home. If it is difficult to communicate with your children, especially if they are feeling angry and upset, it might help you and your family to go for counselling together.
Family counselling enables relationships to improve, gives you and your children a supportive environment where you can explore difficult issues and helps you all to find ways of talking and coping together.