Kids And Concussions: Navigating This Crisis With Your Ex
Concussions can happen anywhere and anytime. It can be the result of a fall, hitting your head on a hard surface, or as the result of a collision with a teammate while playing a sport. When you are at conflict with your spouse or ex, communicating about injuries during or post divorce can always be a challenge, but it can become even more complicated when it is an injury that no one can visibly see, such as a concussion.
If your child is in pain and suffering you will have to have a plan to communicate effectively with the many individuals who will interact with your child, including your co-parent. If your communication is not collaborative or non-existent, you will have to be even more intentional about your advocacy for your child. It will take a different level of due diligence and research, but also the ability to clearly articulate your concerns and needs for your child as they recover from the trauma to their brain. I encourage clients to use their HEAD when supporting their child through diagnosis and recovery.
Tip 1: Have an expert assessment as soon as possible. No one can really diagnose a concussion on their own and everyone has their own unique set of symptoms. There is a period of rest that has to occur, and the earlier you can get an evaluation from an experienced professional, the earlier the appropriate diagnosis can be made and a healing protocol can be prescribed. Many times, if a child is playing a sport or just having fun with friends, they may insist that they are fine. It may also take a while for the symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, or nausea to manifest. The presence, persistence, and severity of these symptoms have the potential to impact recovery time and the return to a pre-concussion baseline. Click here for a complete list of concussion signs and symptoms from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Tip 2: Evidence is essential. If your child plays sports they may have had to have a baseline concussion diagnosis completed. Make sure that you have a copy of that information or can access it from the doctor’s office. If you are present at the time of the accident, document as much as you can. Take pictures of any injuries and track your child’s level of responsiveness. You may need all of that information to support your conversations with your ex, or any other intermediaries such as a medical professional, a parent coordinator, or a coach and school team.
Tip 3: Advocacy can make all of the difference. Even when a coach or your ex may be minimizing the trauma, if your child has had a blow to the head, do everything you can to protect your child by removing them from the activity, and taking them to a doctor or a sports injury clinic immediately. Often times during a high-conflict parenting dynamic, tasks such as managing your child’s rest and restrictions, or negotiating with the school nurse, the academic dean, or a teacher on the return to their academic coursework, requires a different level of skills. If you bring the acrimony into those spaces your child will not get the support they need, and it may create even more stress for them. Stay grounded, keep your emotions in check, and focus on the prize — your child’s rest and recovery.
Tip 4: Documentation and distraction are crucial steps during recovery. Recovery from a concussion may require restrictions from activities such as phone use, television, and computer screen access. Loud noises or sunlight may cause discomfort. These experiences need to be tracked so that the medical professional can assess recovery progress. Work with your child to keep a log to record how they feel after certain tasks such as reading, sitting in class, or just navigating their day. There may be a level of frustration at the disruption of their (and your) normal routine, but spending time talking with your child or young adult, reading a book together, or trying a new recipe in the kitchen can be fun distractions. If you set the tone in your home of taking care of their mind they can carry that plan with them when they go to their other parent. Recovery can take a few weeks or several months, and a helpful and supportive parent can make all the difference in the quality of that experience.
If you are contemplating divorce, or struggling with a high-conflict divorce procedure, let Tamara Harris, CEO of Tamara Harris LLC, be your partner as you navigate through each stage of your journey. As an impartial, experienced professional, Tamara will work directly with you to give you the best tools and strategies to manage the specific challenges and uncertainties of divorce. Serving as your Divorce Coach and advocate, she will help you see clearly during this time where emotions can often impede and derail your divorce procedure. While each member of your high-conflict divorce team – lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, and other experts – will be advising you, Tamara will help you to synthesize this information, think strategically about the options you have with clarity and purpose, and get your divorce across the finish line. Visit tamaraharris.com for more information, or contact Tamara Harris to discuss becoming a client. All inquires will be held in confidence.