When children need help
Children can have lots of different emotional reactions. They can show their feelings by being angry or by misbehaving.
Your child may react to your illness with behaviour you wouldn’t normally accept. Some children may have problems with eating, sleeping or bed-wetting, or problems at school. They may seem sad and withdrawn, or have physical symptoms like going off their food, headaches or tummy aches.
These changes aren’t necessarily unusual but if they carry on or if there’s anything worrying you about your child, you can ask for help.
People who can offer you and your child support are:
your GP (family doctor)
the school nurse
psychological services at your hospital
local counselling services.
Your cancer doctor or nurse will give you advice about counselling or psychological services to help you support your child.
You may be able to access help from social workers. In England, Scotland and Wales, social workers are accessed through your local authority (council). In Northern Ireland social services are accessed through Health and Social Care Trusts.
Teenage years are already a time of emotional ups and downs, but knowing that a family member has cancer can make things even harder.
Some teenagers may be less comfortable speaking about their emotions directly and prefer to express themselves through writing, art or music. Remember that if they aren’t telling you how they feel, it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have anyone to speak to. They may well have the support of their friends and/or other adults, such as an uncle, aunt, grandparent or other relative. It’s important to make sure they have someone to speak to outside of the family.
Teenagers may feel more comfortable joining a support group than speaking to a counsellor. They can also get support from our Online Community. You might find it helpful to chat to other young people who know what you're going through in the Online Community group for 16-24-year-olds.