Children react to illness in a variety of ways.
Some feel angry at their mothers for becoming ill. Others are
frightened. Still others worry that they might have caused the
Although you may be tempted to protect your children by not
telling them about your disease and its treatment, it's usually
better to be honest. Even young children sense when something is
wrong. Preschool children often feel deserted when their mother
goes to the hospital. And if she returns feeling weak or depressed,
they may become frightened. Teenagers sometimes suddenly change
their behavior because they fear their mother's illness will keep
them from maintaining the independence they have begun to enjoy. If
you can avoid imposing too much responsibility on your teenage
children, and if you share some of your feelings with them, you may
be able to keep their problems to a minimum.
It is a good idea to tell your children the truth as simply and
positively as possible. Be careful not to burden them with any more
information than is necessary. Encourage their questions, and
answer those questions honestly. You will probably find that
talking helps your children to accept your illness and the
temporary disruption it causes.