A stroke in the family is always going to be bad news for everyone, but telling the news to a young child is particularly difficult. In case you can’t really hide the fact, or you simply don’t want to, here are a few tips on how to inform your child about a stroke without scaring him/her.
Consider the Age of the Child
The age of the child is the main factor here and although teenagers are technically children as well, they are not the age group in question here. The younger the child is, the less they should be told and something as simple as “daddy/mommy is sick but he/she will get better” is usually sufficient. What you should not do is hide the fact or leave it unexplained because that will create two primary problems as listed below.
- Children have a tendency to blame themselves or others when they know that something bad happened but are incapable of fully comprehending it.
- They will probably start to make up reasons and ideas of their own for the change in the family member’s condition.
Choose Honesty over False Hope
A common mistake that parents often make while talking with their children about bad news is that they get their hopes up by making the matter seem insignificant. This creates the expectation that everything is going to be normal again. Of course, it very well could be, but unless you are sure about it, avoid saying such things, as it might cause the child to become distrustful towards people later in his/her life if what you said turns out to be false. Instead, choose to tell them a mild version of the truth and mentally prepare them for the upcoming changes.
Answer their Questions
Unanswered questions can be very stressful for a child, especially when it involves an immediate family member or someone who is very close to him/her. So, although you don’t really have to tell your child everything, listen to all their questions and answer them as honestly and as mildly as possible. It may seem like a difficult task, but smaller children usually ask pretty straightforward questions and in most situations, the answer doesn’t have to be scarring!
Aside from assuring them of the fact that everybody is safe and being cared for, it is also important to make them understand that none of this was anyone’s fault and especially not theirs. Asking questions is a coping mechanism for a lot of children, so do not deny them the opportunity to cope.
When it comes to treating a stroke, time is of the utmost importance and the sooner the diagnosis is made the higher is the chance of making a fast and complete recovery. On the other hand, stroke misdiagnosis can lead to serious problems such as permanent brain damage, loss of speech, vision loss, loss of cognitive abilities and much more. If clinical negligence or stroke misdiagnosis did indeed play a role in making the condition of the patient worse than it should have been, call your medical solicitors to claim compensation from the party responsible at the earliest time you can.
As children need to see their loved ones become fit and functioning once again, dial 999 as soon as you notice the first signs of a stroke.