Wrapping your head around your child’s cancer diagnosis is hard. Explaining it to your child is harder. Yet can you imagine your child’s own fear? No doubt, your child is scared. What can you do to console your child? What can you say to reassure your child? We offer several tips to help you talk to your child at these trying times.
Run Through What You’ll Say First
It can be unnerving to talk to your child about cancer. Thus, it’s helpful to practice what you plan to say beforehand. Keep in mind your child’s age. When talking to younger aged kids, use simple terms. At the same time, be reassuring and let them know you are always there for them. Slightly older kids from seven years old to teenagers can understand better. Yet expect them to have questions in mind they want answers to.
Take Note of Your Child’s Physical Reactions
Make it a point to pay attention to your child’s physical disposition during your conversation. Chances are your child is upset and afraid. Hence, their silence. Be patient. Encourage them to ask questions. Don’t worry if you can’t answer one or any of them. Unless you’re a medical practitioner yourself, you’re not expected to know it all. Even so, be honest with your child about it. Take note of your child’s questions and ask the doctor the next time you meet.
Talk with Your Child Often
Cancer doesn’t go away overnight. After the diagnosis, your child will go through whatever therapy for pediatric cancer decided on. Hence, it’s a process and can take some time to finish. Throughout this ordeal, it’s important to have regular talks with your child. Encourage your child to share their feelings. The last thing you want is for your child to feel alone in facing his or her sickness.
You and your child don’t have to go through this alone. Support groups, as well as counseling services, for families dealing with cancer, are available. Be sure to check out any of these in your area. You’ll be able to meet other families who have dealt with the same thing you and your child are going through. Hence, they could offer advice on what you can expect. It would also be an opportunity for your child to talk with other children who suffer from cancer also.
Remember these tips when talking to your child about their cancer diagnosis.