Stress and behavioural changes in children
Treatments can impact the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of children with cancer. They may experience mood swings or confusion about their diagnosis and their parents' reactions. It is important to spend time listening to them and try to understand their feelings to help them cope.
Disruption to school
Children have to stop school temporarily until their doctor gives the go-ahead. Parents need to consider positive ways to engage and keep the children occupied. It is useful to inform the school of the children's conditions, maintain contact periodically and work with school personnel to help with their re-integration after treatment.
Anxiety over long-term effects of illness and treatment
Some treatments may have long-term effects on children and more information can be obtained from the doctor.
Impact on siblings
Siblings of children with cancer will experience a host of emotions as their daily routines and interactions are interrupted. They may also feel neglected as attention is focused on taking care of their sick sibling, resulting in a sense of isolation. It is important to involve siblings by explaining to them what is happening and discussing their concerns/questions.
Coping with marital strain and employment issues
Couples may experience strain and tension due to the stress of taking care of a sick child and having less time together. Stress may also take the form of employers not understanding the situation. It is helpful for couples to communicate their worries and feelings, and work out solutions together. Support systems like extended family members can be tapped upon to help care for children so that parents can rest.