Talking with your child or adolescent about your own or a loved one’s illness may be difficult to imagine, and many adults struggle with how to break the news and answer their child’s questions. We understand, and are prepared to help you every step of the way.
Healing Tree Counselors understand the difficulties parents face when balancing the roles of being a parent and a patient, caregiver, or other loved one dealing with the impact of cancer. You can access guidance and support from a Healing Tree counselor at any point, or schedule a visit by phone (877.336.7287).
To help with questions you may have about communicating about cancer with the young people in your life, the Healing Tree has compiled suggestions and advice from experts in the fields of child life, mental health, and oncology. Providing open and honest information as early as possible will help your child or adolescent to feel safe and involved and will establish the trust he/she will need to deal with unavoidable stress now and in the future.
Below are some helpful resources from the Healing Tree:
You may also find it helpful to borrow books from our lending library, which includes books for different ages on cancer and changes in the family. We also have educational parenting books available for adults and caregivers who are supporting youth through this experience.
Recommendations from a Healing Tree counselor are available upon request.
Guided Meditations for Children, from Annaka Harris
Mindfulness for Teens, information, tools, and resources to help teens build a mindfulness practice
Teenage Cancer Trust: Support for Families, great information and support for families when a young person has cancer
Cancer Really Sucks, support for teens by teens with music playlists, resources, a wall to post on and read encouraging thoughts
Riprap, helps teens cope when a parent has cancer.
Camp Kesem, in 2020, in response to COVID-19, Camp Kesem is doing a virtual summer camp for kids impacted by a parent’s cancer
Super Sibs, support and resources for children of all ages who have a sibling with cancer
Guided Meditation for Kids, a short meditation to help kids reduce anxiety and stress
Yoga for Teens, a 20-minute yoga session from Yoga with Adriene
Yoga for Kids: Play in the Park, a fun 30-minute video from Yoga with Adriene
Supportive & Educational Materials: Please review these prior to sharing them to make sure they are appropriate for your child. Children and teens may have additional questions or emotional reactions after viewing these materials, so it is recommended that you watch them together so that you can support your child.
Someone in my family has cancer, a video for kids and parents (Also available in French – may be appropriate for elementary school age children and up)
Kid to Kid: Your Parent Has Cancer, a 15-minute video that explains what cancer is and how it’s treated
You’re Not Alone, in this short video teens share their stories of having a parent with cancer
Helpful resources from Healing Tree Youth + Family Services
When Your Parent Has Cancer, a downloadable guide for teens