Social immaturity is one of the common consequences of brain injury. Some children and adolescents seem “stuck” at an earlier developmental stage. This can make it difficult for peers and friends to relate and may even lead to ridicule or social isolation for the child with a brain injury. Altered social skills can be very difficult for adolescents with brain injuries when peer pressures for dating, appearance and “fitting in” increase.
Stuck would be the operative word. Ridicule and isolation, too. Not to saw away at my violin, but sheesh!
The traditional approach to managing behavior is based on the model of antecedent, behavior and consequence. The antecedent is what happens before the behavior, the behavior is the action, and the consequence is what happens as a result of the behavior. For example, if a child is asked to turn off the television (antecedent), refuses and throws a tantrum (behavior), the child may be sent to bed or given a time-out (consequence). This approach emphasizes the consequence of the behavior. Most children learn to change their behavior to avoid negative consequences or punishment.
This consequential management often does not work for children with brain injuries. The child may not remember the rules. Changes in insight and self-awareness may make it difficult for this child to learn from the consequences of behaviors. Think of the old saying, “The horse is already out of the barn.” Punishing children AFTER the behavior has occurred may not help them learn how to self monitor or recognize when they are overwhelmed or confused.
I’ll bet my parents could have used knowing about this, when I was little. And here they — and everyone else around them — probably thought they were just bad parents.
Again, no violins here, but man, oh, man, did that ever apply to me!
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