Getting diagnosed with breast cancer alters your life in a lot of ways. Breaking the news to your family will be scary and hard for everyone involved.
Being diagnosed is a hard hit on its own and your family can be one of the best support systems you have. As a parent, you’ll need to help your kids understand your diagnosis and the process that lies ahead.
Take a look at the infographic down below from iscc-charity.org which provides a few tips for explaining cancer to your children.
Start by being clear about your diagnosis: Explain to your kids what breast cancer is, what the plan is for your treatment and care, and even shed more light on the situation by discussing recent and new ways to treat the disease.
Let your kids express themselves: You’ll get mixed emotions from your kids like sadness, confusion, frustration and more. There may also be a lot of tension. Allow your kids to process the news however they want and answer any questions they have.
Stay positive with an optimistic outlook: Remember, you are still a role model. Explain to your kids they should have a positive outlook, just like you, but make sure they know that you will have some difficult days ahead. You’ll also feel better if you maintain a positive personality.
Look for other forms of communication: If your kids are still young and don’t completely understand, there are other ways to communicate such as children’s books. If you look online, you’ll be able to find picture books that help explain what breast cancer is to kids.
Make it clear that it’s not their fault and not contagious: Kids may blame themselves but explain that nothing they did or said has caused it. Kids also may not understand that cancer is not contagious. Explain it in a simple way that it’s not like a cold or the flu.
Try to keep things as normal as possible: You will have good days and bad days. Try to keep children’s lives as normal as possible. Still carve out special time for your kids and if you need extra help, ask a friend to help with grocery shopping or taking kids to their afterschool activities.
Let teachers, coaches or counselors at school know: These educators spend a lot of time with your kids everyday so it may be beneficial for them to know in case your children’s behavior change at school. It will also help these educators know how to handle a change in your kids and keep you in the loop.
This path is not an easy one but having others there to support you on your way makes a world of difference. Share your tips and ideas for telling children about cancer with us on our Facebook and Twitter.