If you’ve been seriously injured, many questions and thoughts may come to mind about your ability to cope and handle a lifestyle change. One major question might be how you can be continue to be the parent your children need with a debilitating injury. Fortunately, there are ways to continue being a good, fully present parent.
Modify Chores So You Can Help Your Kids
Kids are often reluctant to do chores, even with an injured parent in the house. They may resent the idea that because of your injury, they’ll need to do more to pitch in. You can and should counteract this. Modify your chore schedule so that your chores don’t place strain on your injury.
For example, if you normally load and unload dishes from the dishwasher but are not allowed to bend, assign that chore to a child, or split the chore so you handle only the lighter dishes.
You can also participate with your kids in chores that they already have, such as dusting or cleaning their rooms. Younger children in particular enjoy making games of chores. Try setting a timer and racing to see who can clean up a certain area fastest.
Focus on Quiet Activities
Many parents who’ve suffered debilitating injuries feel depressed at not being able to do physically active activities with their kids. However, children are adaptable and can adjust to the speed of your recovery if you focus on other fun things you can enjoy together.
Plan a game night for the family, or watch and discuss a movie. Some websites offer reviews of family-friendly movies and discussion questions or guides specifically for this purpose. You can also perform a reader’s theater with your kids or, with modifications, complete a baking or cooking project together.
Involve the Family in Therapeutic Tasks
Sometimes, debilitating injuries mean you need to relearn some basic skills and tasks such as walking, talking or dressing. It’s understandable to be embarrassed about these things, but you should also involve your spouse and kids in them as much as possible. The less children know about what happened and what your injury means, the more frightened and overly cautious they may be.
Therefore, you, your family and your therapists should work to be a team. If possible, have therapy sessions take place in your home. Therapists can explain to your kids how they can best help Mom or Dad relearn something. If you have a small child who is learning the same skill, such as tying shoes, at the same time, emphasize that this is something you can learn and celebrate mastery of together.
Remind Family of What You Can Do
Your family, especially your kids, may respond to your injury by focusing only on what has changed or what you can no longer do. This will frustrate everyone involved and also damage your confidence. Before negative attitudes have a chance to settle, remind your family of all the things your injury did not affect, or the skills that will return with time.
For example, even if you can’t walk just now, you can still remain active. You and the kids can have wheelchair races or play wheelchair basketball. You can still help with homework, cook and clean with assistance, and most of all, listen and respond to your children. Also, focus on innate traits that injuries cannot change, such as compassion, humor and love.
Start the Family Meal
Having a meal as a family can be tough when everyone is busy with different schedules. However, one positive change a serious injury and recovery can bring is that everyone needs to back off from activities away from home for awhile. Use this to suggest your family start eating together several nights a week.
Everyone can help plan the menu. A good rule is that each person gets to choose the main dish a certain night a week. You can also institute special meals, such as make-your-own-sandwich nights, exotic cuisine nights or a night for cupcakes or homemade sundaes. Family dinners will also facilitate conversation about everyone’s day and take the focus away from your injury.
Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney
Talking to an attorney may feel like the last thing you want to do right now, but it’s often beneficial. If your injury was due to someone else’s neglect or malicious intent, it’s also necessary, says the professionals at Dietrich Law. Once you have some recovery time behind you, concentrate on finding the best local attorneys available.
You can also contact disability benefit attorneys to help determine what financial help you can expect while recovering and how the safety net of benefits could assist you during a personal injury lawsuit. Your family needs to know they will remain financially secure, and once they do know this, you can all relax a bit more.
Being a parent with a debilitating injury often feels frightening. You may wonder if you will ever be the same parent again or if your injury will somehow damage your spouse or kids. However, there are ways to keep family bonds strong during this time. With tips like these, your family can begin to see your injury and recovery as an opportunity for growth.
Anita Ginsburg is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She writes about finance, home and family, and business. A mother of two, she enjoys spending time with her family and reading a good book when she isn’t writing. Anita has contributed several articles in the past:
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