Parents can experience a range of different emotions following their child’s injury and often these experiences are temporary. However, half of the parents involved in the development of this website said that they had never spoken to their partner about their child’s injury.
This might be because they don’t want to cause more upset or because they feel guilty or ashamed. These feelings can stop parents from seeking support when they need it and can put an additional strain on relationships.
As well as the emotional upset caused by the injury, there can also be changes to the practical aspects of your relationship. There can be changes to your usual roles and responsibilities, how and when you interact, and also how you communicate with one another.
Although many difficulties are temporary, your child’s injury might have meant that other problems came to the surface. Changes in responsibilities that are often shared by parents to different degrees can generate feelings of guilt, fear, or frustration. Some parents can find that this worsens existing cracks in their relationship, but others may find that the experience brings them closer together. Often, but not always, the primary responsibility for care and decision-making is taken on by mothers and this can also be a source of stress within the family system.
Good communication is a two-way process between the person sending a message and the person receiving it. When communication is successful, information regarding how we feel or what we think is sent clearly and accurately, and it is understood.
Many things can get in the way of good communication. For example, poor mobile phone signal in the hospital. However, there are also things that we do that don’t help. Click on the tiles below to read about the four most common issues that get in the way of good communication and how active listening can help:
This way of listening lets people know that you are trying to understand what they are communicating. Your body language should show them that you are interested and listening. As with anything new, this might seem strange at first, but with practise, it will start to feel more natural.
You might be surprised at how your conversations and relationship changes when the focus is on listening to each other, rather than thinking of your next response.