There may be tough times ahead, but you and your family can get through it with these helpful reminders.
1. Let it sink in Be at ease with your illness before facing your kids and talking to them about it. Once you’ve accepted it, you’ll have a clearer idea of how to tackle things.
2. Leave the drama Your kids are able to feel your fears and anxieties even if you don’t express it in words. Once in a while, it’s okay to cry and let it all out, but don’t let tears take over your life.
3. Be true Some parents with cancer opt to stay away from their kids saying, “I don’t want my kid to see me like this.” But sans the proper dialogue, it might send out the wrong message. “It may scare the child if his sick parent all of a sudden appears bald, and the child can’t recognize him anymore. To see the gradual changes—for example, losing hair or weight—unfolding, the emotional impact will not be as great as when one is suddenly confronted with them,” says Veronica Mendoza, psychologist and community-based rehabilitation adviser for Handicap International Belgium. Be honest when answering their questions, or admitting that you don’t know all the answers.
4. Delegate your tasks Whether you’re in treatment or recuperation, you will be worry-free when you know someone else is taking over your household and parenting duties. Mendoza stresses that your kids should be with someone they feel good and secure with. “Leaving the kids with just the yaya may not be enough as kids might have questions or may need some assurance.”
5. Stay positive It’s scary for kids to think that their parent is in constant pain, that they won’t go home from the hospital, or that they may have the same illness as their parent, so don’t dwell too much on those things. Anticipate the days when you’re feeling great and spend those with your kids. “Even if the cancer is progressing, you can gradually prepare your child to expect that there may be more bad days but show them that good days are still possible,” says Mendoza.
Other helpful articles: The Grace of Survival: A Mom’s Story of How She and Her Family Dealt with Cancer Answering Your Child’s Questions About Cancer
Source:Veronica Mendoza, psychologist and community-based rehabilitation adviser for Handicap International, Belgium
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