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Misconception: The Children Are Fine – They’ll Bounce Back

Reality: Resilience is a person’s ability to cope with stress, difficulties and change. Some children are certainly more resilient than others, but even they can have a hard time coping with a tough situation. Be aware that they won’t necessarily cope or bounce back, and look for signs that they need help. These signs may include; defiance, aggression and regression.

Check in with them about their thoughts and feelings letting them know their feelings are natural – and it’s still okay to be happy, even though mom has cancer. For older children you can check in on the child’s current feelings by asking open ended questions. For example asking, “How are you feeling about mom’s cancer?” With younger children you can read stories regarding feelings and engage children in conversation and inquiring with them how they feel. Talking about your own feelings is good as well, as this helps children understand that what they’re experiencing is normal. You can further support children by validating any feeling they may be experiencing and reassuring them that these feelings are natural. This will in turn help you develop a trusting relationship with the children you are working with.