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Colorectal Cancer: In Treatment: Day To Day Living

How To Consider Underage Children

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Tell your children about what is going on. Use the word “cancer”.

Children will know something is happening and will likely assume it is their fault if they are not told about your cancer and its treatment.

Use the word “cancer.” Children are likely to hear it at some point. They need to hear it from you.

Tell each child in a manner that is appropriate for his or her age and personality. 

How to tell children of different ages is described in the document noted in "To Learn More." 

Keep a routine.

Keep children on a routine as close to the routine they knew before treatment.

  • Warn them if there are changes. 
  • Let them know that changes will be temporary (if they will).

Make one-on-one time.

It may be difficult to do, but spend as much one-on-one time as you can with each child.

Divvy up chores.

Give appropriate chores to underage children. It will help them feel like a part of your team and as if they are helping.

Monitor your children's behavior. 

It is likely that their reaction will show up in behavior instead of words or tears. In addition to watching for changes in behavior yourself, ask your spouse or partner to do the same. Common reactions are described in the document in "To Learn More" below.

What to do If your children are in school

Make your child's school aware of what is going on.

Ask to be contacted if your child's school work begins to suffer or if there is a change in the child's behavior. 

Ask children to help with your care.

If children participate, they feel needed and involved. It also helps to make the process less scary for them.

When giving children chores, make sure they are chores the child can do.  Do not over burden them.

Arrange for your children's care.

Arrange for their care while undergoing treatment and during recovery as needed.

Make plans in case a child has an emergency and you are not there.

It is also prudent to make arrangements in case something happens to you and to the child's other parent. 

P.S:. If you haven’t made provisions for our children in case you die, or don't have an up-to-date will, this is a good time to take action.

  • If you have a spouse or significant other who can take care of your children you are likely set. If not, think through what you want to do. The documents in “To Learn More” may help.
  • A will does not have to be expensive. It may even be free.  
  • This is also a good time to consider keeping control of your health care if you become unable to communicate. The way to do that is through legal documents known as Advance Directives For Health Care. For instance, a Living Will is such a document. They are easy to obtain and free.

For information, see the documents in "To Learn More." 

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