It’s okay to feel all sorts of emotions. You may feel scared, neglected, angry or worried. Or all of them at once, and then some. That’s okay. It’s normal to feel all sorts of feelings when one of your parents has cancer. You should talk to a grown-up you trust, like your other parent, an aunt or uncle, a grandparent, a school counselor, a teacher or a family friend. It can also help to talk to a friend whose mom or dad has had cancer.
“You didn’t cause your mom or dad’s cancer.”
You are not alone. According to ABC News, nearly three million kids under 18 have a parent who has or has survived cancer. There are other kids just like you.
It’s not your fault. You didn’t cause your mom or dad’s cancer. Cancer has so many factors, that many times, even doctors aren’t entirely sure what causes it. But know that nothing you did or thought caused cancer.
You can’t catch it. Cancer isn’t like a cold or the flu. You can’t catch Mom or Dad’s cancer by talking to them or by hugging or kissing them.
Mom or Dad may look or act differently. Sometimes, cancer treatments make hair fall out, so Dad and even Mom may be bald for a while. But hair grows back. They may lose or gain weight, have some stitches, bandages or scars from surgery or have some red skin like a sunburn from radiation treatment . They may be extra tired or cranky at times, or they may seem sad. That’s normal.
Your life may be different for a while. Your Mom or Dad may not be able to do all the things they normally do. They may feel tired or may spend time in a hospital. Other people may take you to your school, practices, games and activities.
You can still do other things with Mom or Dad. Ask your parent with cancer if he or she would like to play a quiet board game or watch a favorite TV show with you. Sometimes, parents just want to snuggle and/or hear how your day went.
No matter what, remember that your parents love you. They just may act differently for a while.
For more web sites and books for kids whose parents have cancer, visit our Resources section.