Hearing the dreaded words “you have cancer” is a devastating experience. Having to tell your loved ones is a difficult task, especially if it’s your child.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the spotlight on the disease let’s us know that everyday, someone, somewhere, is having to break the news to their child that they have cancer. Not a conversation that anyone wants to have. If you find yourself in this unenviable position, here are some guidelines to help you tell your child that you have cancer.
Don’t talk about cancer like it’s a dirty word that should not be spoken. Tell your child what type of cancer you have and explain it in simple and short terminology.
Don’t let it be a one time conversation but an ongoing conversation with your child. let your child know they are free to ask any questions and keep them in the loop regarding doctor’s visits and treatment schedules.
While your child needs to be in the loop, they don’t need to be bombarded with constant information and constant talk about cancer. Give your child information on a need to know basis.
Employ available resources to help your child deal with the fact that their parent has cancer. Books dealing with the subject of cancer or perhaps counseling would be a useful resource during this difficult time.
Allow your child to become involved with your care and recovery at an age appropriate level. While you want to shield your child from the ugliness of cancer, you don’t want to isolate them and make them feel helpless. The simple act of bringing you a glass of water can make a child feel helpful and needed, aiding in the recovery of their parent.