How you sound is as important as what words you choose. If you appear confident of being able to deal with your illness and help your children – even if you shed a few tears – they will feel comforted.
If you get uncontrollably upset when talking about cancer, your children will benefit from having someone else share news with them.”
Harpham offers the following tips for speaking with young children, as adapted from her book, When a Parent Has Cancer: A Guide to Caring for Your Children:
- Always tell the truth, couched in love and support.
- Keep explanations simple and use the word “cancer.” Use language appropriate for the child’s age, maturity and past experiences.
- Teach your children that cancer is not contagious.
- Reassure them that nothing they ever said, thought, felt or did caused you to develop cancer or can cause you to be sick.
- Reassure them that they will be cared for.
Explain why you may look sad, to keep their imaginations from conjuring a worse scenario.
- If the prognosis is good, emphasize it.
If the prognosis is not good, emphasize that you are okay right now and you’ll keep them informed.
Keep your two main missions in mind: (1) To build trust and (2) To help your children deal with the changes and losses in their world due to your illness.
Excerpt from Stay Abreast Blog. Click here for complete post.