The Challenges of Parenting With A Brain Injury

Some days I feel like referee in my own home. Slap on a black and white striped shirt, and watch me as I blow the whistle and make sure everyone heads to their proper corners to cool down.  At first I thought it was because — they’re boys.  You know how father’s and sons can be, right?  But as time went on, I realized there is so much more to this art of parenting thing, especially when one parent has a brain injury.

I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” ~ Jimmy Dean


Adjusting the sails is exactly what we are working on in our house.  You see my husband has a brain injury. He’s a TBI survivor, and parenting–let’s just say isn’t as easy for him as it might be for others who can remember things.

For most of us, we draw from how we were raised by our parents.  We use our past experiences as children, how we learned and were taught, what our parents told us.  The lessons are ingrained in us from early childhood based on how our parents parented us. This goes to help us as we become parents to teach our own children. The results can vary, but the bottom line is we always strive to be better parents were.

The boys have a difficult time with FD (Forgetful Dad) because of his parenting style. Hubby focuses a lot of the negative, and we all know that everyone needs positive affirmations in order to feel good about themselves, this includes kids.  You have to have a balance of both discipline and praise.  But how do you do that if you are parenting with a brain injury?

“Working for what you want in life means focusing, seeing the vision and goals you want to achieve, and no matter how hard things may get. Never give up – try try and try again.”


Every day as a family, dealing with disabilities and special needs, we talk about things. You might find it difficult if you are in this situation. Society isn’t always kind to others with differences, but you have to let that go. I try hard to keep the boys and hubby focused on what’s important which is building and blossoming their relationship with one another.

It’s hard for kids to understand why daddy acts a certain way. Why he doesn’t have the emotions they expect to something, or no emotion at all at times. Why does he get so angry at the smallest things?  I mean it’s not their fault they remember more than he does. And why doesn’t he trust them?  Why can’t he believe they are more than his children, they are his left hand, his right leg, his memory to things he can’t recall?

“No man likes to admit his children have become smarter, faster, stronger or better than he has. But a real man embraces what he cannot change, and changes what he cannot embrace.”


For FD, parenting is black and white. It’s up and down.  He sees the boys doing something wrong, he points it out. I mean after all it’s his job as dad to ensure his boys are becoming the best possible individuals they can.  And that’s all super duper — but children require patience, love, understanding and if you are parenting with a brain injury, then you know you also need those things in order to survive.

Each day is a new day in our household. Each milestone one we take stalk in remembering in the moment.  Each battle fought and dealt with, only to embark on a new adventure tomorrow.  No matter how hard things get — the boys know their dad loves them.  In the end that is what matters. The rest is just chicken soup!


  1. Elizabeth December 17, 2013 at 3:21 am

    Thank you for the post. It is encouraging to know that I am not alone in parenting with my husband who has brain trauma.

    1. Jodi - Site Author December 18, 2013 at 4:10 am

      Oh you are not alone Elizabeth, although many of us don't talk it, there's more of us out there. Hope your holiday is a good one and thanks for commenting 🙂

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