Helping Your Teen Cope With Pain After Surgery

Your teen may or may not want to talk about how she's feeling. But if you're aware of potential pain symptoms, you may be able to help her cope.

How to know if your teen is in pain

If your teen is in pain, she may show it by:

  • Becoming quiet
  • Having difficulty sleeping
  • Not eating or drinking as much as usual
  • Expressing less interest in families and friends
  • Being less active, lying quietly, curling up in bed
  • Becoming irritable and angry
  • Complaining of pain

How you can help your teen cope

  • Remember that you're a part of the team. Talk to your child's healthcare team so that you better understand pain and its treatment. Tell them what comforts your child, ask for advice if you need it, and ask questions such as:
    • What kind of pain can I expect my child to have, and for how long?
    • What do I need to know about the pain medications you're giving her?
  • Create a comfortable and safe environment by:
    • Dimming the lights.
    • Offering to stay with your teen.
    • Reducing noise.
    • Approaching him in a calm, comforting way.
  • Use your touch:
    • Offer gentle massage.
    • Offer hugs or to hold your teen's hand.
  • Distract him. Help your teen focus on something other than his pain by.
    • Playing music.
    • Having him take slow, deep breaths.
    • Reading a book.
    • Talking about a pleasant experience or memory.
    • Playing a game or watching television together.
    • Offering your teen your hand or something soft to squeeze.
    • Offering him art or drawing projects to work on.

Next Steps