Archive for August, 2006
How Can I Reassure My Child That Everything Will Be Fine?
Unfortunately, parents probably cannot offer the kind of blanket reassurance they would like to at the beginning of their experience with cancer. This is because no one really knows at that point how they will respond to treatment and that everything will be okay. In spite of this, there are things that parents can do to help their children cope. Parents can reassure children that no matter what, they will always be cared for. If the parent is feeling sick, they will arrange for someone else to fill in. The most important issue for children is their own sense of security and safety. Children depend on their parents for their basic physical and emotional needs. A parent’s cancer can make families feel that their lives are totally out of control.
During this time it is important to realize that the entire family is likely to feel anxious and unsettled. The person with cancer will make trips to the hospital, their partner may take time off from work and, in general, family members will feel – and show – all kinds of emotions. In spite of all this, parents should try to keep as much of their children?s lives the same as possible. This may sound like a tall order, but it is usually possible to reorganize family routines at least for a short period of time.
In talking about your diagnosis and treatment, it is a good idea to prepare children for the fact that certain changes will need to be made in the family routine. Parents will need to call on others to fill in for them during periods of active treatment. Perhaps a relative will be moving in for a while to help out if a parent needs to be in the hospital. Perhaps the sick parent has friends who have volunteered to take turns in preparing meals for the family. A relative or friend may volunteer to pick a child up from school and take him to special activities. When these changes in family routines are explained to children, they offer a powerful message that Mom or Dad is still in charge and the child’s needs will be met. Life will go on as normally as possible given the crisis the family is facing. The child will not be left on his own. Parents should confirm that no one is happy that life seems turned upside down right now, but it will not last forever. In the meantime, tell children over and over again you love them and that their needs will be met.
Sometimes children react strongly to changes in routine and parents feel frustrated and even angry as they try to meet everyone’s needs. Keep in mind that it is no one’s fault when parents get cancer and there is nothing they can do to change that fact. People have choices about how to handle the situation. Find something in the situation that the child has a choice about like whom they would like to meet at the school bus, or what they would like to wear when they go to a neighbor’s after school. Don’t spend endless time discussing issues back and forth – sometimes that’s just the way things have to be at the moment. Children are not expected to like it when their routines are disrupted – adults don’t like it either. Parents can admit this to their children along with the fact that they have a right to feel angry and upset right now. Although parents can’t fix the situation, they should be interested in how their children are feeling.
Obviously, whatever needs to be done to care for the children will vary depending on the age of the child and how available others are to help. Young children have basic survival needs and are more dependent on parents to feel secure and safe. Teenagers present special challenges because they tend to test their need for independence. But it is logical to ask them to be there to fill in more for an absent or ill parent. Sometimes there may be a fine line between asking for help from a teenager and giving them too much responsibility for the household. Parents may need to recognize their teenager’s normal desire for independence and assure them that you know they need their own time and space in spite of the fact that a parent is ill. Establishing a time for a “family meeting” in which parents and children can review how things are going in the family and make decisions about what should be different or stay the same may also be helpful.
Some families may find it difficult to ask for help. Families may not be living together or there may be a history of family tension. We know from experience that people who try to manage the problems that cancer can cause alone will have a hard time. Try to remember that usually people really do want to help, and if you allow them to help, they will feel useful and needed. If there is no one available to help, patients or their families should ask to talk with the hospital social worker or the nurse in the doctor’s office about any community agencies that can help.
How Will I Know if My Child Needs Help?
Deciding if your child needs help can be confusing as parents try to sort out what is a “normal” response to a new cancer diagnosis and what is not. This is new territory and it will take some time to figure out what works best for you and your family. So while you are learning for the first time how your children react to cancer, you already have experience with how your children deal with other stressful events. Most parents can tell exactly how each of their children behaves when they are upset. Because children, especially young ones, are often unable to talk about how they feel, they show us by their behavior. Some children will become withdrawn, while others may fight, whine and complain. The most important thing to look for is how extreme the change is and how long it has been going on. A child who has usually gone to bed by him or herself may need more supervision with that routine for a period of time. One of the most common signs of depression in a child is a change in behavior like suddenly getting poor grades in school or losing friends.
If the usual methods of handling this are not working and the child is unable to accept extra support, professional help may be the answer. It may be useful to talk with the child’s pediatrician, school counselor, or with the counseling staff at the hospital where the parent is receiving treatment. Since these experts have experience with how other children have reacted to illness in the family, they may be able to offer a useful way of looking at the problem. They should also be able to refer parents to others professionals who have experience with children whose parents have a chronic illness.
Shortly after joining the Army, I was in line with some other inductees when the sergeant stepped forward with that day’s assignments. After handing over various tasks, he asked, “Does anyone here have experience with radio communications?” A longtime ham operator, I shouted, “I do!” “Good,” he said. “You can dig the hole for the new telephone pole.”
Courtesy: Reader’s Digest
Make the woman happy. Do something she likes, and you get points.Do something she dislikes and points are subtracted.You don’t get any points for doing something she expects.Sorry, that’s the way the game is played.
Here is a guide to the point system:
You make the bed (+1)
You make the bed, but forget the decorative pillow (0)
You throw the bedspread over rumpled sheets (-1)
You go out to buy her
what she wants (+5) In the rain (+8) But return with Beer (-5)
You check out a suspicious noise at night (0)
You check out a suspicious noise, and it is nothing (0)
You check out a suspicious noise and it is something (+5)
You pummel it with iron rod (+10)
It’s her pet (-10)
You stay by her side the entire party (0)
You stay by her side for a while, then leave to chat with a college buddy (-2)
Named Rita (-4)
Rita is a dancer (-6)
Rita is single and is really beautiful (-80)
You forget her birthday (-50000)
You take her out to dinner (0)
You take her out to dinner and it’s not a sports bar (+1)
Okay, it’s a sports bar (-2)
And it’s all-you-can- eat night (-3)
It’s a sports bar, it’s all-you-can- eat night, and your face is painted the colours of your favourite team (-10)
A NIGHT OUT
You take her to a movie (+2)
You take her to a movie she likes (+4)
You take her to a movie you hate (+6)
You take her to a movie you like (-2)
It’s called ‘DeathCop’ (-3)
You lied and said it was a foreign film about orphans (-15)
You develop a noticeable potbelly (-15)
You develop a noticeable potbelly and exercise to get rid of it (+10)
You develop a noticeable potbelly and resort to baggy jeans and baggy Hawaiian shirts (-30)
You say, “It doesn’t matter, you have one too.” (-8000)
ENJOY THE ‘BIG’ QUESTION
She asks, “Do I look fat?” (-5) [Yes, you LOSE points no matter WHAT]
You hesitate in responding (-10)
You reply, “Where?” (-35)
Any other response (-20)
When she wants to talk about a problem , you listen, displaying what looks like a concerned ___expression (0)
You listen, for over 30 minutes (+50)
You listen for more than 30 minutes without looking at the TV (+500)
She realizes this is because you have fallen asleep (-10000)
Now what chance do you have???
Picture is worth thousand words … Isn’t it??
Breath-taking …. it reminds me of those fin emoments we spent in Naraan, our hut was opposite to the river Kunhar, an ice filled mountain and the serenity … …. … Captivation and nothing!