We’re sharing this article, entitled “Talking to Your Kids About Your Terminal Illness: A Guide for Parents,” by the ACLS Training Center, because it resonates with our philosophy of truth-telling in age appropriate ways. It is essential to absorb the point made about parental attunement to the emotional and cognitive phases of the child and to approximate as best as possible what the child can assimilate into his/her limited understanding of things. Take some time to read the article and explore the related links provided and consider that it is only recent in our history that childhood grief and mourning have become a subject of research and clinical practice, replacing an outdated narrative that the bereavement process is somehow exclusive to adults.
When a parent is diagnosed with a terminal illness, this new situation will affect the entire family, especially the children. In these cases one of the main concerns is how, when and if this news should be shared with the children. It is normal for parents to want to protect their child, but hiding the terminal illness can oftentimes make matters worse. Withholding information can cause children to feel confused, angry and, many times, guilty.
Read the full article on the ACLS web site.