Explaining Prostate Cancer To Younger Kids
Like any other chronic disease, a prostate cancer diagnosis will significantly affect your life. It will affect your friends, your colleagues, and most importantly your family. This will be a difficult talk with them.
How do I explain cancer to younger children?
The most challenging part of this diagnosis for most individuals is breaking the news to their families. It gets even worse if you have to explain it to your kids or grandkids.
It is not easy to tell children about a disease like cancer, but it is important that it is done in a manner that will be easy for them to process. If you try to hide it from them, kids will know something is wrong because they are very observant.
Approching children about cancer
Do you want to tell kids about your prostate cancer diagnosis? How much do you tell them? There are differences in each individual child’s perception of illness. They will mostly all react in their own unique ways to the news. Factors like age, previous experiences with illnesses, and temperament will influence their reactions.
Before they hear it from someone else, here are a few issues you should discuss with them.
What is cancer?
Your choice of words to answer this question should be made based on the child’s age. Explain how this disease will affect your body and that it is not something they can catch.
There’s nothing they can do about it
Do not make them feel completely helpless. Let them know of ways that they can help to make you happier and support you as you work to beat the disease.
It’s not their fault
It is very important especially for the very young ones to understand that they did not do anything to cause cancer.
It’s okay to feel how they feel
Whether they are sad, angry, scared, or confused, it has to be clear to them that there is no right or wrong way to feel about cancer.
The question of death
You should be prepared for them to ask you whether you will die. You should try to be as honest as possible. It is important to tell them that you are receiving treatment and do not fail to mention positive facts like that there’s a very high survival rate for early-stage prostate cancer. Reassure them that they are not at risk no matter what happens.
Find people kids can go to for support
Older kids like teenagers might not be comfortable talking about the illness with their parents. It is advisable that there is somebody else other than the parent they can talk to such as an uncle or aunt, a close family friend, or grandparent.
A chronic illness affecting a family is a difficult time for any child. The most ideal person to help them deal with the difficult time is their parents. Children might seem busy doing their own things, but they do listen to adult conversations.
Seek guidance from professionals
It is important for you as a parent to ensure that they get the right kind of information from you or a trusted friend. Kids may be affected and experience physical changes due to stress. They will notice that you are not feeling well a lot. Seeking professional help from a social worker or a mental health counselor can be very helpful if you are struggling with how to tell them this news.
I don’t think there is a wrong or right way to talk to any child about an illness. You all just need to stick together as a family.
Have you made personal connections through your journey with prostate cancer?