Most common concerns of children who have cancer in their family:
- Did I cause this?
- Will I, or someone I love, catch this?
- How will my life be affected?
Simple suggestions for talking to children
- Ask open-ended questions
- Always check out what children are thinking or guessing, prior to giving information
- Base all information on the child's coping abilities and let the child tell you how much he/she wants to know
- End all discussions with something positive, or a way to enhance coping
- Let children know that any discussions are okay and that the communication doors are open
To manage a parent's cancer, children need
- Education: especially about the visible, unfamiliar aspects of the situation
- Preparation: one step at a time, as events occur, stressing both facts and feelings
- Opportunities to Express Emotions: expect wide variation, it's okay to see adult reactions
- Support and Guidance: provide choices and clear boundaries, maintain expectations
Problems which may require professional referral
- School performance declines
- Unrelenting expressions of guilt
- Loss of interest in interacting with others
- A serious problem between the child and the sick adult
- Emotional or behavioral changes become pervasive
- Delinquent or aggressive behavior begins or persists
- Drug or alcohol use is initiated
- Suicide is threatened or attempted
If you would like to connect with The Gathering Place about your Children & Teen facing cancer in a loved one, please reach out to: Adelle Gates, MA, CCLS at 216-455-1523 or email@example.com.