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Supporting the Siblings of Children With Cancer

2 Kids Smiling with clown nosesA diagnosis of childhood cancer affects your entire family. It changes your routines and can introduce an element of uncertainty about the future. As a parent, you won’t be able to stop emotions like fear or sadness from arising in healthy siblings, but you can play an important part in helping them cope.

Rely on Your Community

Treating childhood cancer according to your doctor’s plan is critical. This makes it important to get help from your community and from professional counselors.

Keep a list of tasks that you are struggling to complete. When a friend or family member offers help, you’ll already have a specific task ready. Take advantage of social media and online communities to coordinate your pool of helpers.

Get Professional Help

When a child receives a cancer diagnosis, it can feel like the whole family’s life has been turned upside down. The fear and uncertainty can cause a roller coaster of emotions.

Families may not need professional therapy in every case. Take advantage of any service your pediatric oncology center provides to learn ways to address your children’s specific concerns.

Educate yourself about the specific type of cancer your child faces and the effects of the treatment they receive. This knowledge will help when you talk with your children about their sibling’s cancer and ease their fears.

Set aside time to talk with your children about their fears and worries in order to reassure them.

Stick to a Routine

A disruption to your family’s normal routine will likely occur when you start a childhood cancer treatment plan. Disruptions like this are particularly hard on children.

It’s important to adhere to old routines where possible and create new routines when needed. The sense of stability your children derive from routine will help them as they cope with their sibling’s childhood cancer.