Topic: How do your kids handle news

How do kids (especially teenagers) handle news about the parent/patient's condition? Any special help for them?

Louise

Re: How do your kids handle news

Louise,

I believe children always live up to what we expect from them.  I believe in being honest with them and answering their questions as fully as possible and giving them as much information as they want to hear.  Their minds can conjure up scenarios that can be much worse than actual reality. 

That said, they are still NOT adults and we have to temper our responses with that in mind.

I have always tried to be honest with my children about their grandmothers' fight with this monster of a disease.  My children are both adults 28 and 22 and they handled it beautifully, but I always tried to be honest about the prognosis and progression of the disease.

Teenagers are hard in that they are no longer little kids but not yet adults.  It's hard for them to ask the necessary questions.  I would try and have a casual conversation while doing something else.  You might want to ask them how they feel about what is going on and ask them if they have any questions they need answered.  Don't push but let them know you will always be available to answer whatever they need to ask.

Be honest with how you feel about the disease.  Tell them you too are frightened and unsure of how things will go.  Promise to be honest with them. 

It may be another family member will be helpful.  My nephew (26) had a very difficult time with his grandmother's death.  He was unable to go to her viewing and the funeral was tough for him.  He did not want to see her in a casket.  He was a little more comfortable talking to me (his aunt) than he was talking to his mom.  He didn't want to upset her.

And most importantly...you know your children better than anyone else.  Listen to your heart and "gut" feelings when talking to them.  You will know when and what to tell them.

Hospice has some great literature on counseling and dealing with terminal illnesses.  Check on their website.

Hang in there....it's part of this journey.

Oh and check my signature line.  My son emailed this about a minute after I had responded to his email about his grandmother's prognosis.

Many hugs and much love,
Pam

My Mom lost her one year battle with CC on April 3, 2009.

"A prognosis is simply an audit of how truly precious each day is.  Live each day to the maximum, celebrate what was, and what is - Don't spend your life looking forward to what will or might be." .... words of wisdom from my beloved son on hearing of his grandmother's CC prognosis.

Re: How do your kids handle news

Dr Giles answered a similar question. You might want to read that.

I have no children so I am not even going to attempt to help. Better no advice than bad advice!

Hope you find the right path.

Kris

Cancer is a word, not a sentence.

36 year old patient with buckets of hope

Re: How do your kids handle news

Pam gave a good response.

My youngest was 14 when I was diagnosed, and my other children were 19 and 20.

I have been honest with them from the beginning.  I don't think that it really hits home that this is a terminal illness because I don't look sick.  But I always share the results of my scans with them. 

I guess every family is different, but I think that being up-front about cancer, and letting them share their feelings and fears, has worked out best for my family.

Re: How do your kids handle news

Thanks for such sincere, thoughtful replies. They seem to validate what we've done, but it is so hard to watch our kids suffer because of our own health. My youngest has Aspergers syndrome, which is the high-functioning autistic. He has been a lot like the ostrich--head in sand, don't want to hear about it, if I don't have it in my face, it doesn't exist??? He doesn't handle change very well, though, so I have not been content to pretend nothing has changed. Of course, since he is the youngest of 6, and 4 of them are adult, he hears a lot more than he admits or participates in. And since I am currently in remission, I'm not pushing him on it for now. One of his teachers told us (when he was a freshman, shortly after my diagnosis) that he tried to say school was hard because he was having to do so much at home because "My mom is sick." That was before she quite knew what I had, but I had to tell him that I want his life to be as normal as possible, and most of the increase in his chores had more to do with his own growing up, being in high school, rather than because of my health. Any excuse is better than none, maybe? My other teenage son is very compassionate, but he went through some depression, barely talking to me about it, but being as helpful as he could. At least he wanted to stay involved and we made sure he had people who were informed of my health that he could talk to, at school, at church, and at scouts. He seems to be doing much better, and having a girl friend also seems to help, but I'm also doing much better, so I hope his improvement lasts.
Again, thanks to all!
Louise smile

Re: How do your kids handle news

My kids were 13, 18 and 20 when I was diagnosed.  I was very straight forward with them. I think they appreciated knowing what's going on and I still keep them in the loop as to tumor markers and scan results. My youngest didn't talk about his feelings that much. But being a teenage boy -- he still doesn't talk about his feelings that much on many subjects. But he was very considerate with me and always try to help me when I ask for help.

G