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Impact on the family

Childhood stroke can affect the whole family. Parents often feel a range of emotions from shock and bewilderment to feelings of isolation and frustration. Research shows that childhood stroke can affect a parent’s emotions and health, so it is important to look after yourself.

Other children in the family can be affected by the stroke. They may not understand what is happening to their brother or sister, which can be upsetting and confusing. They might not be able to cope with the effects of the stroke and could be embarrassed by their sibling, especially in a school environment. They may even be jealous of the attention, care and money that their sibling is receiving because of their stroke. All of these reactions and emotions are normal.

Your own parents may feel guilty that a stroke has affected their grandchild, since stroke primarily affects older people. Reassure them that strokes in children are different to adult stroke and happen for very different reasons.

If they want to help you, think of ways that they can ease some of the pressures you are facing. They might be able to help you with the other children’s routine, food shopping or keeping your household chores under control. They could spend time at the hospital with your child so you could see your other children or give you time to sleep and have a break from the situation.

Working together will help you cope better and come to terms with the stroke.