by CanTeen07/12/2018

How to Maintain Your Relationship With Your Child When You Have Cancer

Dealing with cancer is a stressful time for you, and your family members. Maintaining your relationship with your child is important. It can be difficult, especially when you are coping with the challenges cancer will bring and not feeling up to doing much at all. These tips can help you make the most of the time with your child so they feel loved and secure despite all the change going on around you both.  

Communicate, and appreciate  

  • Let them know you understand, and appreciate, that your 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 appreciate them. 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 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 feeling sick or fatigued and just can’t get out of bed, make the most of your good days by forgetting the housework and doing fun things with your family – even just watching a movie or playing a board game. Plan for quiet activities when you know you will be tired (like after a chemo session).  
  • Find activities that you and your child can do together (or as a family) that distract you and allow you to just enjoy being with each other. 
  • Protect your family time. Ignore your phones when you’re having dinner or doing something together.  
  • Have a “cancer free” day when you don’t talk about (and try not to think about) your cancer and do fun things that allow you to relax, laugh and joke.  
  • If long hospitalisation: 

Think together how you can maintain your relationship: letters, skype, facetime, whatsapp,…  

Plan activities you can do when they visit (board game, snack,…) 

More advice/support 

Useful sites/resources