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September is Leukemia & Lymphoma Awareness Month

For Parents: How to Help Children Cope with Your Cancer Diagnosis

For most families, a parent's diagnosis of cancer represents a crisis. Family members find that they must adjust not only to the diagnosis but also to a prolonged period of treatment. This presents a major challenge to both parents and children. Supporting your children through this time is not easy, and no one can do it perfectly.

Here are some tips and tools to help you help your children cope:

  • Find opportunities to share relaxed time with your children.
  • Maintain consistent routines and limits.
  • Aim for a balance between asking your kids to help out and letting them be children.
  • Help your children anticipate how their lives might need to change.
  • Try to notice how your children cope with your illness.
  • Remember that your children will worry, and try to anticipate their concerns.
  • Accept your children's resentments.
  • Look for changes in your children's behavior.
  • Accept your need for help.
  • Talk with your children's school.
  • Reach out to other adults who can support your child.

Despite all your careful planning and efforts, your children still may need to adjust to some unfamiliar, and occasionally upsetting events or experiences. Your sons and daughters are more likely to weather these changes smoothly if they know what to expect. So, try to let your kids know about any such changes ahead of time. Notice how your children cope and, whenever possible, support the positive aspects of their coping behavior. Coping includes everything we do to help manage stressful events and feelings.

To access the full article provided by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute click here.

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