Relationships with your kids when you have cancer
- The younger your child is, the longer it will take them to understand what is happening.
- Your children will probably be very worried about you, but also concerned about what will happen to them.
- The changes in your appearance and energy levels can be very frightening for children. Young children may become insecure and clingy or behave badly.
- Give children the opportunity to ask questions and discuss their feelings.
- Give young children information in ‘bite-sized’ chunks as your illness progresses to help them adjust.
- Reassure them that it’s not anyone’s fault.
- Make sure they know cancer is not contagious and they can’t ‘catch it’.
- Do things together as much as you can or ask a relative or friend to give them extra time and attention.
- Reassure them of your love.
- Find ways for them to be involved and help.
There is a great resource booklet produced by the Cancer Council NSW that gives advice on how to communicate with your child about your cancer and treatment called “Talking to Kids About Cancer”. You can download it from www.cancercouncil.com.au or order a free copy by calling the Cancer Council on 13 11 20.
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