Dealing with a 16 yr old with brain trauma - FamilyEducation
Dealing with a 16 yr old with brain trauma
07/02/2007 at 23:02 PM

My son was injured in a dirtbike accident August '06, and suffered, among other things, severe brain trauma after coming out of a coma. He was only 2 days into his 16th birthday. He has lost all but one friend, has memory problems, and also behavioral problems at home and in school. In front of others he is sometimes almost like his old self, but alone with me and a select few family members, he behaves rudely, immature, and is argumentative. Different methods have been used to try and get him to understand the way he is behaving, including psychiatry, medication, punishment, talking, etc. but I am at my wits end.

I guess I'm not really looking for "help", so much as just looking for other parents/caregivers who have/are going through anything like this. I need to know how they deal with their teen, but also really how THEY themselves coped while going through it? I feel like I am going insane - my son has a way of making me look like I'm the one with the brain problem, and some people have commented that maybe I need help. I know I desperately need to talk to a professional, but finances prevent me from doing that right now. My mental state is being tested to the extreme, and I just need to see that hopefully there is a light at the end of the tunnel. My son has come a very long way since his injuries, and I'm grateful for every second I am with him, but if I lose any more weight, I'M going to be in need of medical care!

Physically he is almost totally healed, but mentally the doctors say we have another year to go before his brain is fully healed. Any tips, stories, anything that will help me help my son AND help myself will be greatly appreciated.

Hey eboz,


Welcome to the boards.  What a difficult situation you are in---I have not faced this as a parent so I can't give you any first hand advice in that department.


But when I was in high school my best guy friend was in a car accident and had a severe brain injury---he was in a coma for about 6 months and it was just hell on his whole family.  He had siblings who were neglected due to the care that he needed.  His parents had a very hard time and they got divorced a few years after his accident.


It was also very hard to be his friend after the accident, I tried to be there for him and to be a good friend to him but he was angry at the world and he was very hard to reach.


I think the best you can do is just be there for him and give yourself a break.  This is hard on both of you and neither one of you has ever dealt with something like this before.


Please keep us posted on how things go.




Thanks Marti,

It is very difficult. Luckily he wasn't in the hospital for very long (2 months), and my family was very supportive. My husband is StepDad, and he has been wonderful throughout this whole experience. My oldest is living on his own and my youngest (15) has been a big help too. We all make time to be with each other and make sure that nobody is feeling "left out".

My son lost all but one of his friends, because of his attitude and behavior, just like your friend. And I don't blame them in the least bit - I don't know how I would have handled being 16 and having a friend go through this - so I have no anger or anything towards the kids. It's just hard when my son wants to know why 'so and so' hasn't called.

I'll keep him going to the psychiatrist so he'll have someone impartial to talk to, and just wait the next year out until his brain heals, and then take it from there.


Thanks, Marti, for listening and letting me 'vent' - it means alot to me!!




Hey eboz,


I was that one friend your son has---my friend's accident happened in our junior year of high school and I stayed his friend until my senior year in college.  When I came home from college I would go to his house, I would spend time with him and he would ask me what happened to all our other friends.  The truth was three-fold, one his actions pushed people away, two these friends just couldn't handle it and three, at that age kids just natural grow apart.  Perhaps you can tell your son in some way that he needs to not take things out on his friends.  I did tell my friend on a regular basis that his accident did not give him the right to be a complete jerk.


I am really glad to hear that you are going to get him the counseling he needs, I am sure that will help.  And just stick in there!!  Come here and talk and vent and whatever!