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How To Explain Cancer To Your Child?

how to explain cancer to your children

Getting diagnosed with cancer can be the scariest moment in a person’s life. It signifies the beginning of a harrowing and often painful journey of recovery that doesn’t always have a guaranteed positive outcome. Furthermore, the impact of this insidious disease is multifaced as it puts an incredible strain not only on the patient’s body that must endure the harsh treatments but also on their mental and emotional health. To help ease the burden by even a little, the patient’s family, friends, and loved ones must take appropriate actions to show their love and support.

One way to let the cancer patient know that they are not alone and can rely on you is through thoughtfully and tactfully selected cancer gifts. You can pick the gifts yourself or choose a premade care package that contains appropriate items to help alleviate the negative effects of the cancer treatment. The included gifts should ensure that the patient feels as comfortable as possible during the long hours in the hospital.

Frequently, even we as adults fail to act rationally and supportively when faced with the harsh reality of a cancer diagnosis. However, understanding the situation when you are just a kid can be even more traumatic.

Talk To Your Kids

Some parents may think that hiding the news about one of them or another close relative having cancer is in the best interest of their kids. This decision ultimately comes from a place of love as the parents simply wish to protect their kids for as long as possible. Unfortunately, it may not be the right choice as it merely prolongs the inevitable conversation about the disease while creating a period of increased anxiety and worry in the child.

After all, the side effects of the treatment will become obvious at some point, and the secret will no longer be feasibly maintainable. The parents also risk ruining the trust built between them and the children as the kids could feel hurt by the fact that they were kept in the dark for so long. Opening up for a frank and realistic conversation with the children could seem scary as the parents may need to confront their own feelings on the matter, but it is usually for the best.

Talking With Young Children

The way you explain the situation must be adjusted based on the child’s age and their current development phase. Young kids may react in a totally different way when compared to how a teen would. First, it may be necessary to sit down and prepare some notes about what you plan to say and how you will express it. Try to use simple words and describe what is going on in concrete terms. Use familiar language to explain the difficult cancer-related concepts.

Young children between 5 and 8 years old have shorter attention spans, even when it comes to serious subjects. Be prepared to hold multiple conversations until the child fully understands your explanations. Kids often associate being sick with germs at this age, so it is paramount to explain that cancer is not contagious. Tell them that they should continue to hug and kiss the cancer patient as they have always done.

Teens May Demand A Serious Conversation

Older children and teens may have their own coping mechanisms when it comes to dealing with the reality of having a loved one with cancer. They could also have a lot of questions when first told about the diagnosis. Provide them with all the information you have but do not be afraid to tell them honestly that you do not have an answer at the moment. It is also important to show your sincere emotions instead of trying to bottle them up inside. Kids need to know that they can freely express their sadness, grief, worry, or any other emotion caused by the news.

When it comes to teens specifically, some considerations must be taken into account. First, the teen may start feeling like they need to act more as a caregiver to their sick family member. You should talk with them about it and let them know that they are still your kids and you will take care of them. Acknowledge any concerns they may have, but be firm that they should not let the cancer news become the focal point of their lives.

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