Supporting Your Kids Through Your Fight With Cancer

Posted on: 26 May 2015

Dealing with a cancer diagnosis affects the entire family, even children who may or may not know the whole story. While it's important to focus on your treatments and health so you can manage a comfortable quality of life, your kids are likely to need support as well in order to deal with anxiety, fear, and even guilt that they might be feeling. Here are three effective ways to provide your children with the support they can use to manage their feelings and, in turn, offer you some support:

Commit to Family Counseling

One of the most important ways you can support your children during cancer treatment is to commit to regular family counseling sessions. Sitting together as a family to work out problems and discuss concerns with a neutral person who has expertise in open communication and dealing with big changes offers a variety of benefits, such as the following:

  • The ability to learn tools that help everyone channel their energies and emotions in a positive manner.
  • The opportunity to gain a clear understanding of everyone's personal insight about the changes going on in your family.
  • The chance for your kids to learn new ways to express their feelings and concerns with you at home.

Your children may also benefit from personalized therapy where they can freely express themselves without fear of hurting you or someone else in the family. A professional therapist, like those at the Center For Behavioral Health, should be able to help you choose the right counseling options for your young ones after a couple of family sessions.

Schedule Weekly Family Fun Nights

It's important to dedicate a little time each week to have fun with the family and create memories that everyone can enjoy for a lifetime. Having weekly family fun nights offers an opportunity to relieve some stress, tighten the family bond, and forget all about the illness that has had such a major impact on your lives, even if for just an hour or two.

Family night also gives the kids some stability by showing them that even when times are tough, you are still a solid family unit that can have fun and enjoy each other's company through it all. And having something to look forward to will help keep your kids' spirits high throughout the week.

Chances are that you won't always feel well while going through cancer treatments, so planning laid back family nights will ensure that you don't end up having to cancel a planned event. Consider planning movie nights at home with popcorn and homemade hot cocoa, or challenging the family to a game of monopoly while enjoying food from your favorite pizzeria.

Keep Communication Wide Open

If you aren't willing to talk about your illness with the kids, they will be more likely to hold their feelings inside and minimize communication efforts with you out of fear of upsetting you or overstepping the boundaries they perceive. There is no reason to delve into specific details about your prognosis or treatments, but it is important that your children understand what type of cancer you're dealing with, where it is located, and an overview of the type of treatments you'll be pursuing.

Once your kids have a clear understanding of what's going on, make sure that they know it's alright to ask any questions they might have, and to express their feelings no matter how much anger or sadness they are experiencing. Take a little time each day to ask them if they have any questions and to give them some reassurance that you're available to talk whenever they feel the need. 

These options will not only provide your kids with some much needed support as you boost your health and recover from cancer, but you'll be able to take advantage of getting personal support and making great family memories too.