Sponsored by the HealthcareTrainingInstitute.org providing Quality Education since 1979
Add to Shopping Cart

Coping with Cancer Interventions for the Family
Cancer & Family continuing education counselor CEUs

Section 13
Track #13 - Teaching Parents How to Help Children Cope

CEU Question 13 | CEU Answer Booklet | Table of Contents | Cancer
Social Worker CEUs, Counselor CEUs, Psychologist CEs, MFT CEUs

Read content below or listen to audio.
Left click FREE Audio Download to Listen; Right click to "Save..." mp3

On the last track we discussed compartmentalizing cancer thoughts. .  Because obsessive thinking rarely solves any problems and it drains clients, this track offers strategies for avoiding obsessive thinking through compartmentalization. 

On this track we will discuss supporting the children.

This track includes four guidelines for helping your clients as parents dealing with children who are trying to cope with cancer in the family or of a friend or loved one.  The four guidelines for supporting children are preparing to tell the children, talking to children about cancer, evaluating reactions, and discussing cancer with multiple children. 

Although the examples in these tracks are limited, the guidelines can essentially be applied to any relationship affected by cancer.  Your client may not be able to use all of these suggestions, but as you listen you can decide which techniques can benefit your client.

4 Guideline to Support Children

Share on Facebook Guideline #1 - Preparing to Tell the Children
First, let’s discuss preparing to tell the children.  Greg and his wife Sandy had a daughter Melinda.  Melinda, age 8, was very close to her aunt Heidi.  Heidi, age 37, had been diagnosed with breast cancer

I stated to Greg and Melinda, “You might consider evaluating your own feelings about the illness before discussing it with Melinda.  The hardest part about talking with your children is tolerating your own feelings while you tell them.  No matter how you tell them or how they react, you will still hurt for them.  The more comfortable you are with your emotions, the easier it will be to tell them.  One way to reduce some of the pain is to learn more about helping.  The more equipped you feel to support them, the less pain you will all experience.” 

How can increased knowledge aid your client in discussing cancer with his or her child or children?  What resources might you provide your client to read and find out as much as he or she can?  Could this also be an ideal time to dispel the myth that cancer is contagious?

Share on Facebook Guideline #2 - Talking to Children about Cancer
Next, let’s discuss talking to children about cancer.  As I explained to Greg and Sandy, an effective method for beginning a conversation on cancer with children is by asking them what they already know about the disease.  Sandy and Greg brainstormed questions to help assess Melinda’s level of understanding prior to sharing the news of Heidi’s cancer with her. 

Sandy stated, “We came up with, ‘What does cancer mean to you?  How does someone get cancer? What do you think happens when someone gets cancer?  And we also thought we might ask her if she remembers when Greg’s friend Ray had cancer.” 

Another discussion strategy I suggested to Greg and Sandy was to be honest and realistic.  I stated, “Children like Melinda can handle even the worst news surprisingly well, if you tell it to them in ways they can comprehend.  But if you don’t tell them what is happening, children have a way of imagining the situation as worse than it is.  For example, Melinda might think Heidi is dying when in fact she is simply recovering from chemotherapy.  In that way, misinformation of misunderstandings can be more frightening and confusing to children than the truth.

Sandy asked, “What do we tell Melinda if we find out that Heidi is dying?”  How might you have responded to Sandy?  I stated, “No matter what happens, be realistic.  You can explain the essential facts without sharing every gory detail.  If the patient has only a short time left or months of treatment ahead, don’t tell Melinda that everything will be fine.  Instead, consider that a cue to begin preparing her for what lies ahead.”

Share on FacebookGuideline #3 - Evaluating Reactions
In addition to preparing to tell the children and talking to children about cancer, a third step in supporting the children is evaluating reactions.  Clearly, each child reacts in his or her own way and even the same child may have different reactions.  But do you agree that children don’t always react expectedly, yet need their reactions to be understood? 

I stated to Greg and Sandy, “While you are telling Melinda about Heidi’s cancer, watch for signals indicating how she is taking it.  If Melinda stiffens, dodges questions, looks away, raises her shoulders, or acts angry or defensive, be careful how much you share.  These reactions may indicate that Melinda is not ready to hear any more.”  Greg and Sandy expressed concern regarding the reaction they anticipated Melinda might have.  Greg stated, “Melinda has always gotten mad when things turn out badly.  I think anger might be her fall back position.” 

As you know, we have discussed anger on previous tracks in this course.  Regarding child anger, however, I stated, “An angry outburst may be an opening for you to comment, ‘I wonder if you are mad because Heidi is sick.’  Then you can acknowledge her anger by saying something like, ‘I get angry sometimes, too.’”  Also, when the child calms down, clients might ask the child what motivated the anger.  For example, your client might ask his or her angry child, ‘Was something bothering you yesterday?  It’s not like you to kick the cat.’ 

Share on Facebook Guideline #4 - Discussing Cancer with Multiple Children
Last, regarding supporting the children, let’s examine discussing cancer with multiple children.  If necessary, your client might separate the children and tell them individually as much as each seems able to handle.  You might suggest the client not bombard the children with a lengthy dissertation at first.  Would you agree that children need to assimilate at their own pace?  I find that several discussions spaced out over a period of time can be productive.  Your client can then use the methods described earlier for evaluating reactions to decide which topics might be discussed  with all the children together and which should be addressed on an individual level. 

Think of your client.  Might he or she benefit from the interventions for children coping with the cancer of a loved one as described on this track?  How might you apply these interventions in your practice?

On this track we have discussed supporting the children.  This track includes four guidelines for helping your clients as parents dealing with children who are trying to cope with cancer in the family or of a friend or loved one.  The four guidelines for supporting children are preparing to tell the children, talking to children about cancer, evaluating reactions, and discussing cancer with multiple children. 

On the next track we will discuss techniques for child affect integration.  The two techniques on this track are storytelling and playing, and drawing. 

Online Continuing Education QUESTION 13
What are four guidelines for helping your clients as parents dealing with children who are trying to cope with cancer in the family or of a friend or loved one? To select and enter your answer go to CEU Answer Booklet.


Author - OnlineCEUcredit.com team. See Instructors page for details.

 
Others who bought this Cancer Course
also bought…

Scroll DownScroll UpCourse Listing Bottom Cap

CEU Answer Booklet for this course | Cancer
Forward to Track 14
Back to Track 12
Table of Contents
Top

CEU Continuing Education for
Social Worker CEUs, Counselor CEUs,Psychologist CEUs, MFT CEUs

OnlineCEUcredit.com Login


Forget your Password Reset it!