Blog

Blog

6 Tips for Talking to Your Children about Cancer

Posted on August 25, 2015 at 1:55 PM

One of my areas of specialty is Psycho-oncology. For years I have provided psychotherapeutic support to individuals and families dealing with cancer diagnosis. I collaborate with the individuals I work with to help them develop coping strategies that support them in managing their stress, sadness and social changes as healthfully as possible. I also recently ran a support group at Gilda’s Club in Fort Lauderdale for children between the ages of 6 and 12 who were affected by cancer diagnosis. It was incredible to see the insight and support that the children offered one another. I was inspried to write this post while I was reading the book The Silver Lining: A Suppotive and Insightful Guide to Breast Cancer by Hollye Jacobs. (I screen any self help books before I recommended them to my clients).


When a family is dealing with cancer diagnosis one of the first questions I receive is “how do I tell my children?” Dealing with cancer diagnosis is extremely challenging at any stage in life; however, when one has school age children in the home this already challenging situation can become even more complicated and stressful.


Here are 6 tips for discussing cancer with your children:


1. Don’t avoid!!

Many well-meaning parents I have worked with are very tempted to hide the truth from their children in effort to protect them. This DOES NOT WORK. Children know when there is something going wrong within the family whether it is illness or divorce. In my experience if children know something is amyss and no one is talking to them about it they will create something in their minds that is far worse than reality.

 

2. Prepare talking points

Many parents have informed me that telling their child that a family member has cancer was one of the most difficult conversations they have ever had in their lives. Make talking points about your loved one’s diagnosis and treatment to ensure the conversation is as structured and complete as possible. Also, aim to keep explanations concise. Some adults have a tendency to become verbose when they are nervous. Children often find lengthy explanations to be anxiety provoking and difficult to follow.


3. Communicate with the child at a developmentally appropriate level

 

Speak with your child at a level that is developmentally appropriate. Use words and terminology that are congruent with where the child is emotionally and intellectually. To make sure they understand what you are discussing ask them periodically to explain what you said in their own words.

 

4. Make sure there is appropriate time and space designated for their reactions and questions.

 

It is impossible to predict how a child will react to horrific news. Make sure that there is plenty of time for the child to react and ask questions. Also, make sure the conversation takes place in an environment that is safe, familiar and private for the child. Many parents I work with chose to have the conversation in their bedroom or the child’s bedroom.

 

5. Expects lots of questions and keep an open line of communication

 

Children will likely have lots of questions during the conversation and throughout their family member’s cancer treatment. The types of questions parents are asked vary and depend on the child’s age and intelligence. It is important to keep an open line of communication between yourselves and the child. Reassure the child that it is healthy to ask questions.

 

6. Maintain their routine as much as possible:

Sometimes parents are tempted to let their children stay up late or have more indulgent snacks than usual after presenting such disturbing news to the child. In my years working with children I have noticed that most children thrive in structured and healthy environments. In many cases structure and predictability is even more important than usual when something is going wrong in the child’s life. I recommend that parents keep household rules, discipline, bedtimes, eating and extracurricular activities as they were before the cancer diagnosis. This may require enlisting the help of family and friends.


If you or someone you love is struggling with the emotional challenges of cancer diagnosis and would like help. Please call me for a free consultation at 561-299-0483.


For more detailed information on this topic I highly recommend the following resources:


The Silver Lining: A Supportive and Insightful Guide to Breast Cancer By: Hollye Jacobs, RN, MS, MSW

 

When a Parent has Cancer By: Dr. Wendy Schelessel Harpham

 

How to Help Children Cope with a Parent’s Serious Illness By: Kathleen McCue

 

In Mommy’s Garden By: Neyal J Ammary, MPH, MCHES

 

Categories: None

Post a Comment

Oops!

Oops, you forgot something.

Oops!

The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

5098 Comments

Reply Jamestax
10:40 PM on July 31, 2017 
Downloads Music/MP3/FLAC/ Private FTP Scene 1990-2017 FTP Server, Music Videos,
Minimal, Hardstyle, House, Techno, Tech-House, Dance, Trance, Club, Pop, Rock, Rap, Bass
https://0daymusic.org
Reply izapaliviuno
10:16 AM on February 12, 2020 
Endothelial pop.nlzw.delphinesophro.com.hmo.sy psychotropics detected [URL=http://aquaticaonbayshore.com/buy-viagra/ - viagra texas[/URL - [URL=http://black-network.com/buy-prednisone-online/ - cheap prednisone pills[/URL - [URL=http://thatpizzarecipe.com?levitra - discount levitra[/URL - vardenafil 20mg [URL=http://hilltopsnewspaper.com/retin-a-micro/ - keramag renova 1 comprimo[/URL - [URL=http://telugustoday.com/drugs/sublingual-viagra-pro/ - cheap sublingual viagra pro[/URL - [URL=http://oliveogrill.com/propecia/ - generic propecia uk[/URL - disfigurement, all: follicular buy viagra prednisone no presciption levitra coupon renova motor sublingual viagra pro sublingual viagra pro without pres propecia prescription mesh http://aquaticaonbayshore.com/buy-viagra/ best generic viagra http://black-network.com/buy-prednisone-online/ cheap prednisone pills http://thatpizzarecipe.com?levitra levitra buy http://hilltopsnewspaper.com/retin-a-micro/ order retin a online http://telugustoday.com/drugs/sublingual-viagra-pro/ sublingual viagra pro http://oliveogrill.com/propecia/ buy propecia online two-way diamond-shaped becoming, holistic.
Reply iqaoyipuniy
9:45 PM on March 11, 2020 
Peritoneum ggn.iiou.sbkonsult.net.ifq.qy deep, antibodies; [URL=http://umichicago.com/licab/ - licab generic canada[/URL - [URL=http://mslomediakit.com/generic-cialis/ - tadalafil[/URL - cialis mal d occh [URL=http://bootstrapplusplus.com/viagra-pills/ - viagra[/URL - [URL=http://salamanderscience.com/hucog-5000-hp/ - overnight hucog 5000 hp[/URL - canadian hucog 5000 hp [URL=http://iliannloeb.com/femalegra/ - femalegra online uk[/URL - [URL=http://innatorchardheights.com/buy-lasix-online/ - buy furosemide[/URL - frozen travelling where to buy licab online cialis price per pill cheap viagra pills viagra hucog 5000 hp generic order femalegra lasix no prescription displace behaviour, counsel; http://umichicago.com/licab/ licab generic canada http://mslomediakit.com/generic-cialis/ cheap cialis pills http://bootstrapplusplus.com/viagra-pills/ generic viagra canada http://salamanderscience.com/hucog-5000-hp/ overnight hucog 5000 hp http://iliannloeb.com/femalegra/ femalegra http://innatorchardheights.com/buy-lasix-online/ buy lasix online catastrophic ahead.
Reply WilliamAneda
4:21 PM on April 25, 2020 
best cam girl sites adultfreewebcamsites.com best cam sites for models.
Reply DavidHig
6:29 PM on April 25, 2020 
best cam to cam sites xxx cam sites asian webcam sites.
live free sex cam bestonlinesexcams1 college hidden cam sex.
free sex cam sites adultfreewebcamsites.com adult webcam sites.
male cam sites adultcamsites1 sexy cam sites.
best free webcam sites adultcamsites1 girl cam sites.
free webcam girls hot cam girls college cam girls.
Reply WilliamAneda
10:54 PM on April 25, 2020 
real webcam sex bestonlinesexcams1.com cam to cam sex.
Reply DavidHig
11:50 AM on April 26, 2020 
cam model sexy dance girl hidden cam girls.
live webcam sex hd sex cam sex cam reviews.
sex webcam sites adultfreewebcamsites top web cam sites.
free cam girl sites male cam sites shemale webcam sites.
porn cam sites adultcamsites1 best chat cam sites.
indian live sex cam live sex cam online hidden webcam sex.
Reply Stevechide
12:25 PM on April 26, 2020 
tonciatidasi.ml
oninpresento.ml
maturewebcams.icu
tonwoodcgerce.tk
disfnettionamin.gq
sappmysqtadufet.ga
maturesexwebcams.icu
enimgehall.tk
inthegcopep.tk
maacompmerpe.tk
milfwebcams.club
leyspenemacle.ml
landconslasonza.cf
fartspirerfis.gq
amateurwebcams.monster
mattcotpaiplegver.ml
milfsexwebcams.club
myfreecamssexchat.club
freewebcamschat.xyz
Reply WilliamAneda
12:52 PM on April 26, 2020 
male cam sites best paying webcam sites webcam sites for couples.
Reply Stevechide
12:53 AM on April 27, 2020 
oninpresento.ml
amateursexwebcams.monster
sappmysqtadufet.ga
sparmesidabsand.ml
liaproglutuadi.gq
teensexwebcams.xyz
tiroremaket.cf
bagcaransgo.cf
kisvevidita.cf
halfhardtingalec.tk
fartspirerfis.gq
leyspenemacle.ml
maacompmerpe.tk
cerlansjourkoger.gq
Reply Quentininarl
6:03 PM on May 3, 2020 
sex cam teen webcam sex videos sex cam tube.
free webcam sex webcam sex homemade webcam sex.
free web cam sex bestonlinesexwebcams.com sexy cam chat.
Reply Quentininarl
1:09 AM on May 4, 2020 
top cam girl sites adult cam to cam sites japanese cam site.
couple cam site adultfreewebcamsites.com best webcam sites for couples.
cam live sex filipina sex cam sex cam app.
Reply RichardTuh
11:52 AM on May 4, 2020 
free porn cam sites adultfreewebcamsites couples webcam sites.
camgirls cam to cam girls teen girls live cam.
free sex webcam sexcams secret sex cam.
cam whores fat cam girls russian cam girls.
free sex cam sites adultfreewebcamsites top cam site.
web cam site adultfreewebcamsites.com webcam sites for teens.
Reply HowardUnini
5:16 PM on May 4, 2020 
free cam sites adultcamsites1 popular webcam sites.
model porn hotcamgirls1 free nude cam girls.
cam site top adult cam sites webcam sites reviews.
Reply RichardTuh
5:16 PM on May 4, 2020 
asian cam girls camgirls1.com top webcam girls.
best sex cam sites adultfreewebcamsites xxx cam sites.
cam 2 cam sites adultfreewebcamsites.com korean cam site.
live cam sex video bestonlinesexwebcams.com voyeur sex cam.
cam site online live webcam sites social cam sites.
cam sex live bestonlinesexwebcams.com webcam sex show.
Reply RichardTuh
10:49 PM on May 4, 2020 
cam whores russian cam girls black cam girls.
nasty private webcam sex shows live sex cam indian sex cam.
free gay webcam sites adultfreewebcamsites.com girl cam sites.
real family webcam sex bestonlinesexwebcams.com gay hidden cam sex.
nude cam sites adultcamsites1 best webcam sites for couples.
free adult web cam sites adultcamsites1.com paid webcam sites.
Reply StevenCeazy
8:11 AM on May 5, 2020 
top cam sites best sex cam sites best cam sites reddit.
Reply RichardElodo
2:09 PM on May 5, 2020 
live sex cam bestonlinesexcams1.com nude sex cam.
girl cam cammodels webcam girls videos.
chat cam girl camgirls1.com free camgirls.
Reply Kevinwag
5:50 PM on May 6, 2020 
chaturbate model big tit cam girls fucking colombian cam girls.
Reply Normanfrork
6:18 PM on May 6, 2020 
live cam sites adultfreewebcamsites.com sex cam sites.
free webcam sex free live sexy cam teens sex cam.
best cam to cam sites jasmin cam site sex cam sites.
real life cam sex bestonlinesexcams1 fire sex cam.
teen cam girls web cam girl teenage girls cam.
free gay webcam sites cam sites like chatroulette live cam sites.