Talking to Kids about Cancer
Many people are frightened to mention the word ‘cancer’ to youngsters. You might not have the knowledge of what things to say if someone important to your kids has cancer.
If you or somebody else they love has cancer, it’s very important to talk to your kids soon following the diagnosis to build trust and to help them have an understanding of what’s happening. If your kids know you’ll always tell them what’s going on, they will feel less afraid. Children feel scared and alone when they’ve been told that “all is well,” because they know this isn’t true. They see whispering, crying, changes in other family tasks as well as meal schedules. Children have vivid imaginations and the things they envision are worse than reality.
Assure your kids that you love them, and make sure to constantly have regular conversations in the days and weeks after diagnosis. Invite any questions they may ask and answer them honestly.
How to Describe what is Cancer
What you say about cancer will vary determined by the age of your children. With younger children, do not get too technical. Let them know that cancer is a thing that grows inside the body but isn’t supposed to be there. It is like weeds in the garden. There are lots of methods to get rid of weeds (cutting, weed killer, pulling) and there are several means to treat cancer (chemotherapy, surgery, pills, radiation).
Clarify that occasionally you may be too tired to play or to snuggle. This really doesn’t mean they should be sad. It’s normal and natural to feel disappointed if your parent or grandparent is too exhausted to play.
If you are likely to experience hair loss, tell the kids before it happens. Clarify that side effects like nausea, hair loss, and fatigue, are signs that the treatment is working.
In case your young ones ask whether you are going to die, do not offer false assurances. Instead, respond by saying, “I have great physicians who are doing everything they are able to in order to make me well again. ” In case your cancer is advanced, tell them you’ve great physicians that are doing their best to treat it. Tell them you will inform them how the treatment goes.
Suggestions for Helping Children Cope
It’s okay to go with the kids to clinic visits if they would like to go. It helps some children to see the place which will help you get better. Clarify what’s happening to you. Consider giving a souvenir like surgical gloves or tongue depressors to younger kids.
If specific days, like chemo days, are worse than others, consider having a special basket of goodies/toys that just comes out on those days. Another idea is to keep the kids’ minds as engaged as possible, with things at home or school, while you or a loved one is at the clinic. Through the snapfish promo code, these can be made into a photobook so that they can share with you.
The important thing to helping your children cope with a cancer diagnosis is to speak to them openly and candidly. Enable them to know they can always come for support or with questions to you, and that you adore them so much not to hide anything from them.