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​Talking to Children About Breast Cancer

Posted on 07-23-2015 | Kids 'R' Kids Learning Academy of West Frisco and Legacy West

Breast cancer is scary enough for adults but for children who don’t understand what’s involved with this awful disease and don’t understand the big medical words and procedures, it can be downright devastating. But how do you know when it’s ok to talk to your children about it?

Some experts say that when children learn how to control their own emotions, they are likely ready to discuss important issues like this. There are a wide range of emotions associated with the breast cancer – anger, denial, sadness, fear and when you’re talking with your children they will likely experience any or all of these emotions. The most important thing you can do is to be in control of your own emotions in order to be able to be supportive of your children and inform them of “what’s next.”

In addition to controlling your emotions, it’s best to wait until the family is together as a whole and have the conversation together in the privacy of your home. The group of you together can support each other and share the range of emotions as well as retreat into your private spaces and deal with your emotions privately.

It won’t be necessary to follow a script, unless it’s what is easiest for you to get everything out that you want to say. Either way, you want to make sure you cover the important aspects of what will happen as the disease takes its course: hair loss, nausea from chemotherapy, etc. All of this information may be confusing to particularly young children, and you will want to make sure you explain that what is happening to the cancer sufferer as a result of treatment, will not happen to them, too.

While this can be a difficult conversation to have with your children (remember, they will not react in the same way you did) it’s important above all else to be honest during your conversations. Some parents think that protecting their children from a cancer diagnosis, experts disagree with this. It’s important to be honest up front and with what’s happening and you’ll find that the honesty will make a difficult situation that much easier. 

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