Tips to Help Parents Cope with a Child’s Cancer Diagnosis

May 19 • 2016

A cancer diagnosis is difficult for anyone, but cancer found in children can result in an extremely devastating situation for everyone involved. As parents, it’s important to provide support and positivity no matter how impossible it may feel. Knowing how to cope with your own emotions can help you provide the best care possible for your child.

There are a wide range of emotions that parents can feel after their child’s cancer diagnosis, including anger, depression, denial, anxiety, fear, shock, and even guilt. The first and most important step is recognizing that it’s natural to have these feelings. Being able to accept that these feelings are simply a part of the coping process can help you move forward. Depending on how you’re feeling, your needs may vary. If you need to talk to someone, visit with a trusted friend or family member, or reach out to a therapist for advice. Consider finding a support group in your area to meet other parents who are experiencing the same struggles.

Also, make sure that you speak to your child’s doctor about any questions you may have, no matter how big or small they are. Having all of your questions and concerns addressed can help bring you peace of mind. Meet with the entire team that will be handling your child’s treatment, including nurses and social workers. By developing a relationship with them, you can also develop trust and learn from them.

While it may not seem like a priority, ensuring that you are taking care of yourself is also an important step in coping. Sleeping, eating and exercising properly will give you the energy needed to rejuvenate, and enable you to take care of your child. Additionally, having a routine in place can help by providing some stability amidst the chaos.

Cancer in children can be one of the toughest situations a parent ever has to face, but by making sure you stay informed, process your emotions and reach out for support if needed, it can be easier to cope. Baptist offers a variety of support group options – speak with your child’s cancer team for recommendations.