Everybody faces tough times. Life is marked by bumps in the road, transitions, and unexpected obstacles. As parents, tough times are tougher because you have to parent through them. You have to figure out how to be a mom or a dad in the midst of a troubling time, and you have to figure out how to talk to your kids about what you’re facing.
As a physician, I’ve walked alongside many parents as they’re going through illness, specifically cancer or another life-threatening diagnosis. I think this is one of the hardest challenges parents can face is being a parent while being sick.
Being a parent while being sick is one of the hardest challenges parents can face.
If you’ve been there, and I know many of you have been, you know how difficult this is. The diagnosis comes back. The tumor is malignant. It’s cancer. You have a five-year-old or a ten-year-old or a 13-year-old. What do you do? What do you tell your kids? How do you explain to them a life-threatening illness?
I recently sat down and interviewed my friend Cheryl Wilkinson. Cheryl is a breast cancer survivor and mother of three. She has wonderful insight into how to parent through cancer. She’s honest and real, and even talks about what she did when her kids asked that scary question, “Are you going to die?”
From my experience in the medical field and from my experience as a mother, here’s what I’ve learned about talking to your kids about cancer and illness: