What Now? Coping With a Childhood Cancer Diagnosis for Parents

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When a child is diagnosed with cancer, the entire process impacts the whole family. While it’s normal for family members to feel anxiety, confusion, anger, fear, and grief, the emotions and stress of the child’s parents can often impact have a strong impact on the child. As a result, our children’s cancer charity wants to help parents learn how to cope with their rapidly changing emotions.

It’s important to understand that any feelings that you experience during this process are normal. Your emotions might change from fear one day to anger the next, but any range of feelings are to be expected with such a difficult life change. Openly discussing your feelings with others will show your child that he or she doesn’t need to be ashamed of emotions and that it is okay to express them.

Make sure to connect with your child’s health care team, which can include doctors, nurses, social workers, and psychologists. With this team, you can voice any questions or concerns you have about the entire process. Your child’s health care team is trained to respond to your needs and keep your child’s best interests in mind, and might even be able to put you in touch with other parents who are going through or have gone through a similar situation.

Allow friends and extended family members to comfort you and offer support. While it’s important to take care of yourself while tending to your own needs, it’s okay to let a loved one help out with chores, schedules, child care, meals, or anything else that can relieve stress from your daily life. If friends and family members aren’t available, consider calling on help from your community or place of worship. You can also relieve tension by journaling or taking up a hobby like walking or exercising.

Strengthening and helping family members is all a part of helping children with cancer, and ISCC-Charity is proud to encourage parents to take steps necessary to make the process easier. However, it’s important to remember that while there are some things you can do to handle your emotions and struggles during this time, there is a part of the process that you simply cannot control. Recognizing and taking charge of the issues within your abilities will help you to feel more empowered and will allow you to be there for your child.