How to Maintain My Relationship With My Child When My Partner Has Cancer
When your partner has cancer, your child’s relationship with you is even more important – the most helpful thing they need is for you to be there for them, physically and emotionally. That can be a challenge when you’re caring for your partner with cancer. These tips can help you make the most of the time with your child so they feel loved and secure despite all the change affecting your family.
Communicate, and appreciate
- Let them know you understand, and appreciate, that your partner’s cancer is having a big impact on their life too.
- If they’ve taken on extra chores and responsibilities, like looking after younger siblings, let them know that you (and your partner) appreciate it. Most young people are keen to help, but if it feels like a burden or unvalued it can cause anger and stress.
- Remind them how much you love them through words, hugs and time spent together.
- Especially with teenagers and young adults, be honest about what’s happening and your feelings. It will help them trust you and feel they can be honest about their feelings with you.
Spend time with them
- Find time to do something special with your child. Going shopping or to a movie gives you both a break from ‘the cancer’ and lets your child know that your relationship is really important to you.
- Rather than feel guilty about times when you are at the hospital or caring for your partner or just need to get some sleep, on the days when you do have time forget the housework or catching up on email and do something fun with your child.
- Protect your family time. Ignore your phones when you’re having dinner or doing something together. Create opportunities for you all to make memories together.
- Have a “cancer free” day when you don’t talk about (and try not to think about) cancer and do fun things that allow all your family members to relax, laugh and joke.