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Telling Your Kids You Have Cancer

Dreaded telling my daughter my diagnosis an I one of those moms that shares too much with my daughter , but that I couldn't tell her I didn't know how an I didn't want her to find out from someone else. Well I decided to tell Laila about a month after I started treatment because I knew I would start changing physically an I honestly just didn't want to keep that from her it didn't feel right.Sharing the news that you have cancer with your young children can be an emotional and difficult conversation. In this article, we offer advice on how to approach the conversation, prioritize honesty and reassurance, and emphasize strength, while encouraging open communication. 

Keeping your diagnosis hidden from your children adds an unnecessary layer of stress and tension to an already difficult time. Sharing the news truthfully and compassionately is the first step in building a support network and alleviating some of your own worry.Children are perceptive and intuitive, even if they don't always express their thoughts or feelings clearly. By sharing information about your diagnosis, you are giving your children the chance to understand what is happening and ask questions.Sharing your diagnosis with your children shows them that you

trust and respect them. It can be a powerful moment of connection and growth for both you and your children.To make the conversation as comfortable and reassuring as possible, begin by thinking through how you want to frame the conversation. Think through key points you want to cover, questions that might come up, and the tone you want to set. Practice the conversation before you have it.

It's natural to want to protect your children from difficult news, but keeping them in the dark about your diagnosis can lead to confusion and anxiety. Being honest with them will help them better understand what is happening and help them cope.To make the conversation as comfortable and reassuring as possible, begin by thinking through how you want to frame the conversation. Think through key points you want to cover, questions that might come up, and the tone you want to set. Practice the conversation before you have it.

Knowing what's happening to their parent gives kids a sense of control and helps them feel like they can contribute to their parent's well-being.


Keeping secrets can lead to mistrust, which can be difficult for kids to overcome. Sharing your diagnosis helps maintain an open and honest relationship with your children.


Talking about cancer can be an opportunity for children to learn new skills, like empathy, resilience, and flexibility.

Preparing Yourself to Talk to Your Children

It's important to be in the right mindset before sitting your children down to talk about your diagnosis.

Choose the Right Time

Pick a time when you know you will be able to hold the conversation calmly, without interruptions.

Anticipate Their Reactions

Think about how your children might react - they might be scared, confused, or sad. Be prepared to answer their questions.

Practise Your Message

It can be helpful to rehearse what you will say beforehand so that you are confident and clear when you speak to your children.

5 Steps to Follow When Telling Children About Cancer

When it comes to having this conversation, there are a few key steps to follow that can help make the conversation go more smoothly.

Step 1: Use Age-Appropriate Language

Keep the language you use simple and easy to understand, matching the level of language your children are used to hearing.

Step 2: Be Honest and Clear

Explain to your children that you have an illness called cancer, and be upfront about what that means for you and for your family.

Step 3: Explain That Cancer Does Not Spread Like a Cold

Your children may worry that they will "catch" cancer from you. Reassure them that it is not contagious and that they cannot catch cancer from anyone else.

Step 4: Encourage Openness and Questions

Make sure that your children feel comfortable asking questions and expressing how they feel in an open, honest way.

Step 5: Reinforce That the Cancer Treatment Will Help and That Everything Will Be Okay

If you are undergoing treatment, let your children know that the treatment will help make you feel better, and that you and your family will work together to help everything return to normal.

Resources for Talking to Children about Cancer

If you are looking for additional resources to help you talk to your children about cancer.


There are many books available specifically tailored to helping children understand cancer and what it means for their family.

Support Groups

Support groups can provide a helpful forum for both you and your children to share stories and learn coping strategies.

Online Resources

Online resources, like forums and blogs, can provide a wealth of information and support for families going through similar experiences.


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