Talking with children

How much you tell children will depend on how old they are. Young children need to know that it is not their fault that you have cancer. They also need to know that you might have to go to hospital. Slightly older children can probably understand a simple explanation of what is wrong. Teenagers understand much more. Children like to know what will happen to them while you are in hospital, who will look after them, and how their daily life will be affected.

Sometimes children rebel or become quiet. Keep an eye on them or get someone else to, and get help if you need it; for example, from the school counsellor or a social worker. Ask your local Cancer Society for a copy of the booklet What Do I Tell the Children?/He Aha He Ko - rero Ma-ku Ki ĀkuTamariki? by phoning the Cancer Information Helpline 0800 CANCER (226 237) or by downloading it from our website.