In most families, no matter what faith or religion a person practices, the holiday time is one of excitement, tradition, and family togetherness. When a family must also face cancer during this time, the hectic but expected routine of the holidays may well be challenged or changed.
In the wonderful little book, Moms Don’t Get Sick, 10-year-old Ben is thinking about Christmas the first year of his mother’s treatment for breast cancer. He says, “Mom came home (from the hospital) right before Christmas. I was worried that the secret things that Mom does at Christmas wouldn’t happen. She just seemed so tired and not as excited about the holidays as she always had been before.”
- Even at a holiday time, children still have needs in relation to a cancer diagnosis in the family.
- They need information about what is happening,
- They need an opportunity to express their concerns and emotions,
- They need preparation for changes or differences in their family,
- They need boundaries and rules that help all children feel secure.
The key to meeting these basic needs in children is maintaining open channels of communication. Talk to your children about what is happening and, more important, get them to talk to you.