Helping Children When A Family Member Has Cancer: Dealing With Treatment

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Cancer changes everyone in the family.

The whole family will be affected by your illness, and no one comes through this experience unchanged. Cancer treatment is quite stressful at times but you can learn creative and helpful ways to deal with the changes and uncertainty that you and your family will go through. You may not have as much time or energy as you did before, but parenting can’t be postponed. Your kids need you a great deal during this time, and you’ll still need to parent your children through your treatment – even when you may not feel up to it.

You’ll need to guide your children toward accurate information, hopeful ways of looking at the current situation, and healthy ways to cope. There will be times that your kids don’t listen and things don’t work out the way you’d hoped. But being a parent means that sometimes you have to make decisions based on incomplete information, and sometimes you’ll make mistakes. In the words of Wendy Harpham, a mom with cancer who is also a doctor: “There is no one right way to parent. Don’t try to be perfect.”

Last Medical Review: 01/29/2015
Last Revised: 04/27/2015