It is estimated that 1 in 2 people in the United States will have cancer in their lifetime. Although most of these cases occur in people over the age of 70 years old, knowing how to properly talk to your children and loved ones about cancer can better aid them in how to cope with these difficult circumstances.
- Be Honest
Your child’s age will determine how best to approach the conversation of cancer. Whether you, your child, or another loved one has been diagnosed with this disease, being honest and talking to your child on their level is essential.
Explain the different treatments according to their understanding. If your child asks questions, answer them to the best of your ability. If you are unsure of the answer, tell them that. You can search for answers together.
In dealing with cancer, there are often guides and communities that can support you and your family as you learn, receive education, find qualified doctors, and seek helpful treatments. The Mesothelioma Guide, for example, combines all of this and more.
- Share Feelings
The way you choose to respond to a situation can set the tone in how your child responds to the same situation. It’s okay to be scared but it’s important to maintain a positive attitude.
It’s perfectly normal to also feel sadness and depression when dealing with cancer. If your child is feeling this way, it is important to love them, validate their feelings, and find positive outlets for those feelings.
- Teach Coping Mechanisms
When dealing with big emotions, your child is likely to have big feelings. For children, these feelings can be expressed in a variety of different ways. Often, children are unable to articulate and understand their feelings, and sometimes these feelings manifest in headaches or stomach aches.
To help your child navigate these feelings, help them develop proper coping mechanisms. Some of these positive outlets may include art, sports, or even a family date night.
- Provide Support
Despite all of your efforts in trying to support your child, it is important to also engage the help and support of your community. Find a child therapist to aid your child. They can help teach your child how to talk about their feelings and develop proper coping mechanisms. This is especially essential if you are the one with cancer, as sometimes you will be unable to show up to address their needs, as your focus will be elsewhere.
- Maintain Routines
One of the best ways to support your child is to maintain your typical routines. This helps to provide stability in your child’s environment, despite the fact that there is a lot of chaos and circumstances outside their control. If your child maintains their routines, they can have more peace of mind and less disruption, helping them to continue to pursue normal activities, despite the upsets.
Childhood is a beautiful time, as children are often sheltered from many struggles. Unfortunately, we can not always protect our children, but by being honest with them, teaching them how to properly share their feelings and cope with them, providing them with adequate support and maintaining their routines, your child will prove stronger than you ever realized.