Children are impacted by the diagnosis of a parent’s serious illness in many ways. Frequently, their emotional needs and concerns can go unaddressed during times of crisis. Some parents worry that talking with their children may cause fear. Children are highly perceptive and notice the smallest nonverbal cue or change in routine. Without information on their developmental level, children won’t be able to make sense of the changes they notice and they will be alone in their worry. Most children want to handle crisis in a positive way and have the potential to cope and grow through this difficult time.
Age-Related Responses to Illness
Research indicates psychosocial support and illness education provided to children at an age-appropriate level significantly helps children and also eases stress within the family, improves parent’s depressed mood, and increases the parent’s ability to focus on treatment and well-being.
Wonders & Worries helps children and families by providing an age-appropriate understanding of the illness, its treatment and side effects; facilitating expression of feelings related to the changes in the family due to illness; and identifying individual coping skills to help ease feelings of sadness, anger, etc. It is our goal to help children and their parents understand the changes occurring in their families due to illness, gain coping skills, and increase communication so that they may emerge from a family health crisis stronger than when they began.
A child’s age affects the way he or she may react to illness in the family.