Written by: Angela Body
When diagnosed with a chronic, or terminal illness, most individuals are so afraid and confused that they are barely able to hold their head above water. Clients have shared that receiving a diagnosis of chronic illness is like being knocked off your feet, “literally.”
Many individuals withdraw from their spouse, kids, extended family members, friends and co-workers. Others may maintain their lifestyle, experience some form of denial (which is a defense mechanism) and go through their day-to-day tasks without speaking about their condition.
These individuals may be easily angered, frustrated, experience heightened symptoms (depending on their condition). Your child may notice changes in your behavior and/or physical changes. Your child may experience anxiety, behavioral changes, sleeping issues, and/or nightmares. Family often step in to assist, but nothing compares to the bond between a child and their parents. Please understand, that this may not be the experience for most, however, in my experience, individuals can take several months to adjust.
Be truthful. Speak with your child as soon as you are able.
Ask your child about any fears or concerns she/he may have.
Don’t push your child away. Meet with a therapist.
Try not to make any drastic changes to their daily routine.
Set up an appointment to speak with your child’s teacher. Your child’s teacher can notify you of any emotional or behavioral changes that your child may exhibit.
Allow your child to express their emotions in a healthy way.
If your condition is terminal, consider keeping a journal to document your love for your child.
Finding an effective therapist to assist with these sensitive conservations may be beneficial to you and to your children.
When Pete’s Dad Got Sick: A Book about Chronic Illness (Helping Kids Heal) by Kathleen Long Bostrom
How to Help Children Through a Parent’s Serious Illness: Supportive, Practical Advice from a Leading Child Life Specialist by Kathleen McCue M.A. C.C.L.S. & Ron Bonn
Why Does Mommy Hurt? Helping Children Cope with the Challenges of Having a Caregiver with Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, or Autoimmune Disease by Elizabeth M. Christy
The Mission of the Hope and Wellness Partnership is to support individuals and their family members through life challenging illnesses by providing mental health services, education, hope, and effective coping skills.
If you need support coping with a mental or physical illness, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Business line: 424-226-8052