2 articles Tag worry

When Cancer Strikes: Helping Kids Cope When Someone in Your Family Gets Sick

It can be difficult for kids to fully understand or handle the situation when someone in the family is sick and needs medical help to try and help them recover.

Unfortunately, cancer visits many families and aside from the emotional trauma of contending with such a serious condition, there is also the prospect of endless visits to the hospital and the need to help provide some peace and quiet, all of which can be difficult for kids to cope with.

Here is a look at some ways to help kids deal with someone in their family getting sick. There is an overview of how to talk to your kids about the situation, making allowances for their age and expected emotional reactions, plus some tips on getting support outside of the family network.

We need to talk

There are many distressing and difficult scenarios that you might have to contend with when a close relative is diagnosed with cancer, and one of those challenges is what to say to the children and when to have that conversation with them.

Rather than just come right out with it at some unplanned opportunity, it is often a much better idea to plan what you intend to say to your kids in advance.

Working through the conversation in your mind and even discussing how to relay such traumatic information to a child with a health professional who understands the situation, can help you to deliver the news in the best way possible, considering the circumstances.

Keep it simple

The age of your children will obviously make a difference to how you talk to them about cancer and what is happening with a loved one, but the general suggestion is always to use simple language and give them ample opportunity to absorb the information.

It is often the case that you will need to repeat what you are saying several times and be prepared to answer any questions they come up with during the conversation.

Emotional reaction

Children will normally experience slightly different emotional reactions and school age children who have yet to hit their teens, are sometimes likely to experience feelings of guilt if it is one of their parents who is sick.

You will have to work on reassuring them that clearly, they bear no responsibility for what is happening.

 Teenagers are more likely to experience some noticeable emotional highs and lows, which means that they can display moments of anger, sadness, and anxiety, as well as feeling depressed about the situation at certain points.

It is worth mentioning the mandala coloring app by Apalon Apps which is an adult coloring book to help reduce stress. Suggest downloading apps like this that encourage mindfulness, as it could be a useful tool they could relate to when they are struggling with their emotions.

Keep their school in the loop

Dealing with cancer in the family is a deeply personal situation but it is important that if you have a child at school who is trying to cope with this problem at home, they know what is going on.

Their school can often be very helpful and understanding as they will be aware of how a family crisis can affect a child. They can make allowances for their performance and behavior, plus offer some extra support as and when they need it.

It is never going to be easy coping with cancer, but there are things you can do to help your kids cope with the situation as well as they can be expected to.

Sophie Horton is a whizz when it comes to keeping kids occupied. She is Auntie to 5 kids who range in age from 1 to 15. Her articles discuss looking after kids when they are away from home and keeping everyone happy.


So, I feel like I should probably put paid to a couple of ideas that THIS blog post may have created in my nearest and dearest.

1. I’m not pregnant. I know I’ve said I’d like to be at some point, but I’m far too fat and unhealthy to even consider it at the moment.

2. I’m not moving abroad.

3. I haven’t joined a cult/had a sex change/joined a swingers club

So there.

One of the things that was leaving me feeling rather stymied was Sausage and her reaction to school. I’m not gonna lie to you, people, it’s been a tough couple of weeks.

During the first week, she was only attending for half days and she seemed to get on really well. Then she started to feel poorly and the combination of this and a glib (but hugely irresponsible) comment made to her by one of her TA’s made any confidence that she’d gained completely unravel. We had a week of living with a very unhappy Sausage. She wasn’t herself at all, she had bad dreams, she was tearful from the moment she woke up and dropping her off at school was like untangling myself from a screaming octopus before walking swiftly away. It was breaking all of our hearts but we knew we had to persevere.

However, we seem to have had a breakthrough.

We’ve started walking to school with a couple of Sausages’s friends who are really lovely kids and it’s made her look forward to seeing them in the morning rather than going through the usual anxiety. She’s made some friends in class who she seems to get on very well with, so now, instead of spending her evenings and mornings telling us how much she misses us when she’s at school, she’s happy and excited about things.

I didn’t want to write about all of this at first, it’s been difficult to deal with and if I’m honest, I’ve not felt like a very good Mum at times, worrying that my leaving her when she’s upset will ruin our relationship but I’m glad I listened to Husband and everyone else who said that it’ll just take time. Instead of sitting at home between 9 and 3, feeling like I have a lead ball in my stomach and watching the clock go agonisingly slow, I’m happy to leave her knowing that she’s happy and my days go a lot quicker.

So, that’s a large part of what’s been going on and why I’ve felt so tongue-tied for the past week or so, and hopefully things will gain some semblance of normality from here! As for the rest of it, you’ll just have to wait for the next instalment!