Among the many difficult questions parents face when diagnosed with cancer is, “What do I tell my children?” Talking to a child about a parent’s, grandparent’s, or sibling’s cancer and how it will affect the family isn’t easy, but it is necessary. By talking to your children honestly and helping them express their emotions, you make it easier for them to feel safe and secure.
Sharing information early on will help build trust. Some tips that you might consider when talking to your children about your diagnosis include:
*Consider your child’s age and use age appropriate language
Even at a very young age, children can sense when something is wrong. If not told the truth, they might imagine things worse than they really are, or that they might be the cause of the problem. Little people can have big ears and hearing broken conversations about things that they don’t understand can increase their fears. It is for these reasons that having a talk with your children will help everyone in the family so that the channels of communication remain open.
What advice do you have for sharing this news with children? What lessons have you learned?
~ Shannon, Buddy Kemp Cancer Support Center