Here is a short article, Telling Your Kids You Have Cancer, provided to us by the American Cancer Society:
Facing a cancer diagnosis is never an easy thing, but the prospect of telling your children about your cancer can seem truly overwhelming. However, talking to your kids about cancer is one of the critical first steps in the healing process, both for you and for your family. Here are some things to think about when telling your children you have cancer.
Don’t play hide and seek.
It’s natural to try to protect your children from bad news, but trying to hide your diagnosis from your kids can often cause more problems than it solves. Children are likely to notice the changes in your appearance, your absences as you undergo treatment, or the fluctuations in your mood. They may also hear adults talking and sense that they are being excluded from an important conversation. Worst of all, without good information, they may jump to harsh or frightening conclusions that may be far from reality. Talking to your children can keep them from imagining the worst and give them a chance to seek comfort and get answers to all their important questions.
Once you’re ready to talk with your kids, find some uninterrupted time when you can be together. You may want to talk to each child separately or gather the family for a group discussion. Tell them what type of cancer you have, where the cancer is located in your body, and what will happen with your treatment. Be sure to take your time and explain things in a way that makes sense for them. You should also discuss how you think your family’s life may change as a result of your diagnosis. Then, invite your kids to ask any questions they may have.
Let them know you’re in this together.
Each child may react differently to the news of your cancer, and it’s likely that children of different ages may have different concerns and fears. Assure them that although some things may need to change for a while, your family will work together throughout your cancer experience. Most importantly, let your children know that even though you’ll be focusing on fighting your cancer, they will still be loved and their needs will still be taken care of.
To learn more about how to talk to kids about cancer, click here or call the National Cancer Information Center at 800-227-2345.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat