What We Do
We teach parents how to parent and kids how to cope during a parent’s illness. Through activities, children and teens gain:
- Age-appropriate understanding of illness, treatments and side effects
- Strategies for expressing feelings related to changes in the family
- Skills for coping with stress, anger, sadness and fear
- Connections to peers sharing similar experiences
Before a child or teen starts with Wonders & Worries, parents and caregivers are asked to meet the staff who will be working with their family. This builds the foundation for staff and parents to support a child or teen, together.
The parent intake meeting can occur at a Wonders & Worries office, treatment facility or hospital, in a home or over the phone. It takes about one hour.
We work with each family to determine if the child or teen would thrive best in individual sessions or group sessions. For example, siblings may meet together or have separate support plans.
Using the exclusive Wonders & Worries Illness Education and Coping Curriculum, the sessions are customizable. The individual sessions are free of charge and available for ages 2-18.
Group sessions are also free of charge and are designed for children age 5-18 years, with groups aligned by age.
Group support gives children and teens the opportunity to bond with others who are experiencing similar situations and provide an outlet for learning and sharing.
New Wonderers Six-Session Groups
New Wonderers groups are designed for children and teens who are new to Wonders & Worries.
These groups are separated by age, with elementary school-aged children meeting together and middle school-aged children meeting together. Based on the curriculum, the six-session groups are customized to the needs of the children and teens.
General topics covered in Wonders & Worries 6-session Illness Education and Coping curriculum include:
- Illness education
- Treatment center tour (when possible)
- Hopes for the future and closure
No Worries Monthly Check-in Groups
No Worries monthly check-in groups are offered for children and teens who already completed the Wonders & Worries initial six-session support. These monthly groups allow children and teens to check-in as needed, and are available for:
- Elementary school-aged children who have a parent with an ongoing illness
- Elementary school-aged children who have experienced the loss of a parent
- Middle-school or high-school tweens/teens who have a parent with an ongoing illness or have experienced the loss of a parent
Parenting while ill – or during a spouse’s illness – is uniquely challenging. We offer parenting classes, parent support groups and other tools that can be used independently or alongside services for children and teens.
Parent consultations keep parents and caregivers involved throughout the support process. They happen in person, over the phone or through email.
During consultations, parents can discuss and receive feedback on their child’s understanding and coping. This also gives parents the opportunity to ask questions and to update us on illness information.
The child-parent relationship can become harder to navigate after a parent or caregiver has been diagnosed with a serious illness. To make the transition easier, we offer periodic parenting classes. Virtual parenting classes coming soon.
Reflective listening and limit setting are helpful parenting tools for all parents and are especially important when families are coping with parental illness
Join Ali, Julie and other Wonders & Worries professionals as they discuss common parenting issues that arise when a parent within the household is enduring an illness. Each episode is about 20-30 minutes and addresses a specific area of concern for parents related to communication with their children, feelings/emotional regulation, as well as coping and resiliency. This podcast is beneficial for ALL parents and is especially helpful for parents experiencing an illness by providing brief bits of education in a small time-frame, specific to their needs. New episodes are posted every 6-8 weeks. Listen to an episode now or subscribe to our RSS feed on any one of the major online podcasting platforms.
If you are unable to come to one of our offices for in-person support, you can call our helpline at 1-844-WE-WONDER (844-939-6633) and connect with Wonders & Worries’ expert staff on how to talk to children and teens about any adult illness.
Family Fun Events
Family Fun events are opportunities for children and teens to break away from the stress of a parent’s illness. These events give families the opportunity to relax and enjoy time together, while meeting other families facing similar situations.
The following events are hosted by Wonders & Worries:
- Hoping Hearts Bowling Party
- Urban Family Scavenger Hunt
- Ladybird Lake Bat Cruise
- Costumed Festifall
If a family connects with Wonders & Worries before a loss occurs, they are welcome to receive bereavement support. However, if the loss has already occurred, families will be guided to other grief resources, including:
- Talking to Children with Treatment isn’t working
- Talking to Children when Treatment isn’t working – A Teen’s Perspective
- Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas
- The Christi Center
- Hospice Austin
- Austin Grief
- Bo’s Place