Don’t touch your Homework! Don’t Study! Don’t think!
I am frequently instructing parents to keep their son/daughter on “Brain Rest” following a concussion (also known as “mild traumatic brain injury”). “Brain Rest” is critical and can prevent/ reduce serious and harmful long-term effects. Too often, this recommendation is met with resistance, denial and reservation.
My 15 year-old, Adam, suffered a blow to his head during basketball practice this week. Symptoms of concussion surfaced immediately.
I proceeded to explain what “Brain Rest” involves:
- no school
- no homework
- no physical exercise
- no computer use or Facebook
- no XBOX
- no text messages
I knew that I was asking a great deal from Adam. In essence, I was depriving him of everything that matters to him right now in his world. My son, like a normal teenager, is a product of a generation that is constantly bombarded with external stimulation and is never apart from his iPhone. He does not want to be cut off from his friends and his sports.
The first few days were hard. Adam does not know what to do without his phone, friends or Xbox.
I get 20 phone calls the first day:
- When will I get better?
- I’m sick and tired of this!
- I feel better now!
- Can’t I play XBOX?
- Why can’t I see friends?
Usually, I am the calm parent in our family and the one who plays things down. Not this time! I need to constantly remind Adam of the seriousness of the situation and the long-term problems he may face if he does not rest.
My husband, feeling helpless, asks me repeatedly: “There must be something you can do? “ (Implying that I should try harder to help our child because this is my profession).
My daughter struggles to understand Adam’s situation. Her comments: “he looks fine-there is nothing wrong with him,” don’t help either.
We are taking it one day at a time. This is not easy!
Until now, I have always refrained from sharing personal information on my blog or with clients. Hopefully, this experience will help me empathize with and make a difference in the lives of my clients.
Finally- if you have any advice as to how to keep a 15 year old on Brain Rest- please share it with me!