Parenting

Get Email Updates

Parenting Guide

Susan Cody HERWriter Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.

ASK

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!

How to tell children a parent is seriously ill - Howdini

More Videos from Howdini 148 videos in this series

How to tell children a parent is seriously ill - Howdini
How to tell children a parent is seriously ill - Howdini
4 of 148 : Current video

When a parent learns he or she is seriously ill, one of the first challenges is how to tell the kids. Good Morning America parenting contributor and author Ann Pleshette Murphy has some good advice for any family dealing with a parent's serious illness.

Helping young children cope

  • Young children don't usually need a lot of information. For example, if you are helping your child cope with a parent's cancer diagnosis, you may tell her that the parent has cancer, what kind of cancer it is and where it is. Let her know that her life won't be affected in a dramatic way at first.
  • Let your child know that many kinds of cancer are treatable and not an automatic death sentence. Let him know you're doing everything you can and that the doctor says you'll be able to take medicine to get better, if that is the case.
  • One way to help children cope with a parent's illness is to maintain their routines as much as possible -- that's what makes them feel safe.
  • Younger children often feel they may have caused the illness. Reassure them that they haven't, and also that what you have is not contagious. Small children are often very empathic and really want to help.

Helping teenagers cope

  • Sometimes teenagers are so focused on their own lives, you have to ask them explicitly for help.
  • Teenagers may be angry and resentful that the parent's illness is going to impact their lives.
  • Try not to be angry if they seem not to care as much as you think they should -- it may be their way of coping with the parent's illness.
  • Empower them to have a role in the process.

Coping with a parent's terminal illness

  • If the illness progresses and the parent may not recover, use the traditions, religious practices, and/or values that your family is familiar with to talk about the situation.
  • It's very important to be honest with your kids. They pick up on secrets.
  • When children ask a question, take your cues from them. Small ones may not want to know too much. When they ask a question about this (or any tough subject), it's a good idea to ask, "What do you think is the answer to that question?" to get a good sense of what they're thinking the situation is.

Howdini is life’s little instruction manual, in HD. We’re all about bringing together the top, most respected experts in their fields to help us be the best we can be at all of the little and not-so-little challenges of our complicated lives. Howdini is the place to be for the know-how you want, when you need it. Or maybe it’s the know-how you need, when you want it. Whatever. We’re here to help. So come in and look around, won’t you?

We think you’ll love finding everything you want to learn about in one convenient place, and as we grow and add more categories and more Howdinis, you’ll be doing less surfing and more learning right here. And unlike television, Howdinis aren’t limited by time—we don’t have to break for commercials, and we’re always on.

Who is Howdini?

People often ask us, is there an actual person who is Howdini? And the answer is, it’s kind of like Lassie. Just as there were many Lassies, there are many individuals who are called Howdini. In fact, each of our experts is a Howdini, and, like all those Lassies, they really know their tricks. (Although so far there is no ‘How to tell your master that Timmy is trapped in the old abandoned mine’ segment)

Our gurus are people you know and trust because you’ve been getting advice from them for years, at places like Good Morning America, The Today Show, Money, Prevention, and Food and Wine (to name just a few). Many are best-selling authors. Others, like our medical experts, are respected leaders in their fields.

Howdini History

The first Howdini was Joanna Breen, who left a comfortable career at ABC’s 20/20 to create a how to video website after one too many frustrating experiences with handymen who weren’t that handy. Joanna had traveled the world reporting with Barbara Walters and others on injustice, outrage, and tragedy, but now it was time to turn her talents to dealing with crises closer to home, like what do you do if you drop your diamond ring down the drain. Joanna is the quintessential can-do girl, so she didn’t find the prospect of launching a gigantic website the least bit daunting. (Ok, that last part isn’t entirely true.)

Joanna convinced an old ABC News buddy, Shelley Lewis, to join her. Shelley had supervised roughly 9.7 million helpful how to segments during a long career executive producing television shows like Good Morning America and CNN’s American Morning. A self-described “info-pig” who loves all kinds of information programming, she is never happier than when she’s learning an amazing new tip that she can annoy share with everyone she knows. Needless to say, Howdini was a dream gig for her. A career woman, a wife, a mother, and author of two books, Shelley considers herself equally challenged by all the facets of her life.

Joanna and Shelley were introduced to marketing executive Alison Provost by a mutual friend who knew that Alison had what they needed - entrepreneurial experience, patience, and a checkbook that still had checks in it. Joanna and Shelley could see right away that Alison should join Howdini. They figured that they would take care of the programming, and Alison would bring trustworthy sponsors to help pay the bills. It took Alison significantly longer to be convinced, maybe because she was crazy busy running a marketing firm called PowerPact, which she continues to oversee while serving as the biggest of big cheeses at Howdini. But whether it’s playing Suduko or launching a new business in a field she knows little about, Alison loves the challenge of a good puzzle, It wasn’t long before she began dropping obscure internet terms like “user-interface” and “googlebot” into casual conversation.

What’s Next for Howdini?

Our goals are modest. Complete and total domination of the internet, crushing Google, Microsoft, and any other punks who get in our way. (Hey, it’s a just a goal.) But until then, we will content ourselves making the best, most professional, most credible how to videos you can find anywhere. We want to help you solve your career issues, your parenting problems, your money troubles. We want you to be more glamorous, healthier, and less stressed out. We want you to check Howdini every day for fun, interesting, useful advice from experts you know and trust.

We want to make Howdini the community you love to be part of every day, To do that, we need to hear from you. Please share your suggestions, rate and comment on the Howdini videos, and the blog, (The Howdini blog). Tell us what you’d like us to create for you.

And then, when we’ve achieved that, it’s back to working on complete and total domination of the internet.

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy