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Children: Why To Tell About Your Condition And How To Tell

Why Do I Need To Tell My Children Anything?

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Realistically, a diagnosis of a serious health condition becomes a diagnosis of the entire family.

Mainstream experts agree that not telling your children about your illness can be the worst thing to do. While you may wish to protect your children by not telling them, consider the following:

  • Even very young children will probably sense something is wrong.
  • Children have very vivid imaginations. A child's imagination can take them places that are wonderful. The same imagination can lead kids to some pretty scary thoughts when they do not know what is happening. They may envision much more dire circumstances than exist. It is common for children to blame themselves for whatever scenario they create.
  • Without information, a child can feel very isolated, with no one to talk with.
  • Your honesty with children allows other family members and friends to be open with your children as well.  
  • Not letting children know is a breach of trust.

Children can cope well with crises and change, particularly when they are given the necessary tools and understanding.

  • Being open and honest with your children can help you help them through a difficult time. 
  • You can discover their specific feelings and reactions to what is happening, and can help them work through their individual concerns. 
  • Studies show that children who are given age appropriate information and whose routines remain consistent do very well. (For age appropriate ideas, see the other sections of this article.)

 if you will need children to pitch in and help more around the house than usual, letting them know what is going on can be helpful.

  • Knowing what is happening will give children a better understanding of why they are being asked to do more.
  • Knowledge will also help children feel as if they are making a valuable contribution to working out a family crisis.

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