One of the biggest fears in the world today is becoming a parent. There is a fear of caring for and raising a child with all expectations of growing up happy and healthy. Parents often worry about who their children is playing with, what their children are eating, and where and what their children are doing. Parents constantly worry about the safety and well-being of their children. Nothing can ever prepare any parent for a tragedy such as learning that their child has been diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Parents try to come to grips with the fact that their whole world is trying to crumble around them. Many parents experience emotions such as anger, guilt, confusion, worry, denial, and fear. Finding out that your child has a terminal illness is hard to come to terms with and is too shocking to deal with alone. These reactions are very common and very natural in this type of situation. Parents must understand that the child is hurting just as much as they are and this is when the child needs them to be the strongest. Children get their strength from their parents.
Sooner or later, parents begin to realize and accept what is happening to their child and the fact that there is not much they can do about it other than having strong will, constant prayers and lots of hope. Parents often blame themselves and many often blame God. What needs to be understood is that such illness is not the blame of anyone and there is nothing you can do to stop it or prepare for it. Counseling is a strong necessity for the parents, the child, and the rest of the family to cope with and handle such a situation.
The hardest thing for a parent to have to do is to tell their child that they are bad sick and that there is nothing that mommy and daddy can do for them. The child should always be told what is going on with them, depending on the age of the child, the information given to them should only be as much as they can understand. Children are very smart and if not told, they will sooner or later find out for themselves like listening in on conversations, meeting other children in the hospital with similar illnesses, and seeing how the family starts showing more concern than usual.
No matter what is explained to the child about their illness, he/she may bring up their fear of death. Despite the fact that this is a very painful subject to talk about, it is necessary for the child’s mind to be at ease. Talking is a very effective tool for coping with crisis. The child must be able to feel that security and have the understanding of what they are having to face. Many children who face a terminal illness also suffer from fear, anger, and confusion much like some of the experiences their parents face. It is also important for parents to understand that no matter what feelings your child is expressing, they love you. In return, your child should always be able to feel and know that you love them and that you are just as scared as they are.
Terminal illness is diagnosed in over 100 children each day right here in the United States alone. There is not much we can do to prevent this from happening, but we can put up a good fight, never give up hope, be strong, and accept all situations as part of God’s plan. Good luck and I hope that you find the health and happiness your looking for. Be strong and never give up hope. I have a seven year old niece with Medulablastoma, a rare brain cancer. She has been blessed with a two year remission. She was born with one eye, has battled brain cancer since the age of one, and lost her mother to a tragic accident a little more than a year ago. Still, she is the strongest person I know. There is always hope.