Support for Young Families – National Resources

Are you dealing with breast cancer and raising young children?

We offer resources and support through the breast cancer journey. Whether you want to speak with another young mom, find resources to help you talk to your kids about breast cancer, or get professional help with a specific concern, we can help you and your family cope with this life-changing experience.

For more information check out two resources developed by Rethink: a guide for parents and a guide for kids, as well as the section on Talking to Kids and Youth about Breast Cancer on the Resource page.

For more information about family support, please contact Shawna Ginsberg 416.920.0980 x 228

How to Talk to Kids About Breast Cancer

  1. Use Simple Language – try not to use medical terms or language that children are unfamiliar with. Often such terminology sounds scary or has more than one meaning. Start simple, and as children gain awareness about cancer, cancer treatment and medicine, you can clarify the different terms associated with each word or procedure.
  2. Talking About Death – always use the word “die” and/or “death” when discussing and explaining death and dying to your children. Children may have a distorted sense of what “death” actually means. Be sure to talk about the differences between real deaths and tv/movie deaths. Finding natural examples of death and the life cycle in nature can help children understand death as a natural part of the life cycle.
  3. Answering WHY? Questions“Why did this happen?” is a common question children ask after being informed of Mommy’s diagnosis. Children’s basic understanding about illness is that something causes an illness to happen, such as a cold, which is contagious and can be shared.
  4. Repeat, Repeat, RepeatYoung children ask questions repeatedly because they need to continually check in and clarify for themselves what is happening and why. Stay consistent with your responses, using the familiar family terms.
  5. Promoting and Supporting Children’s CopingIf your child asks you something and you are unsure of or don’t know the answer, it is perfectly OK to say: “That’s an important question, but I’m not sure of the answer/I don’t know the answer so I can’t explain it right now. Let’s talk later once I have a chance to talk to my doctor/nurse about it.” Make sure to follow up with your child about their question once you know the answer.

For more tips and strategies to talking to your kids check out Talking To Your Kids About Breast Cancer: A Guide for Parents

A Guide for Kids

A book that speaks to young children

A Guide for Parents

(PDF download)

Guide à l’intention des parents

(PDF download)

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