Changing roles at home
“In many respects my husband and I have reverse roles”
Whether it’s going back to work and becoming the bread winner or suddenly having to do all the DIY, changes in family roles are inevitable after one member sustains an SCI.
Perhaps for a young person, a life change is easier to accommodate than for an older person who may feel very anxious about letting go of familiar routines. Of course every person’s circumstances are different and everyone experiences change in different ways. For most of us, in order to move forward, it is necessary to let go of the past and explore other options and opportunities.
Try not to be resistant to change because you are fearful of the unknown, accept each challenge as it comes along and watch yourself grow in confidence.
For a child, having to move home, perhaps having to change school and make new friends or adjust to seeing a parent or sibling in a wheelchair, may be unsettling…
Make sure you give your child an opportunity to talk through their anxieties. When feeling overwhelmed by change, some people find it helpful to write down their concerns or talk to a friend or someone trustworthy.
For a child or adult, recognising the source of anxiety is the first stage in helping control these fears. It is not always easy to see where these feelings come from and you and your family may benefit from talking to a family counsellor or clinical psychologist to identify and talk through these concerns.
Once these feelings have been recognised, finding alternative ways of dealing with them will be helpful. Thinking about the worst that can happen and verbalising concerns will often diminish the problem.
We all have inner resources and coping skills that enable us to make the most out of difficulties that come our way.
“Whilst my mother was in hospital, we all had to pull together to help dad at home. He was absolutely hopeless at cooking and housework as mum had always done everything for him and he looked completely lost. The first few months were very difficult. I tried to cook meals and managed to burn or overcook everything and my younger brother was really rude and kept saying “yuck” to everything. Unfortunately, my father was always going out to get ready-made meals to compensate and we lived off fish and chips and pizzas for weeks. Eventually my aunt came to stay for some time and she taught me some recipes which are easy to follow. I discovered that I quite enjoyed cooking and have now made some reasonable meals at home. I was amazed as my younger brother asked for a second helping of something I cooked last week. I never thought I would enjoy cooking but my mother is really proud of me!”