Adolescent children may or may not want to discuss your cancer. They may or may not want to accompany you to the hospital. Some kids this age find the whole disease monumentally embarrassing, and since they are adolescents, what matters most to them is what their friends think. Try to maintain a whimsical tolerance of your teenage son or daughter if at all possible. Underneath the bravado and the posturing, s/he is very frightened and worried about you. Try to find ways to encourage discussion; words may come more easily during a drive to swim practice than in the living room. Do not be afraid to ask your adolescent children for help and to rely on them. They can be very helpful, and although they may sometimes resent being asked to do things for you, in general they will be glad to take care of some family tasks. The obvious warning is don’t ask or expect too much—they are, after all, children, not adults.

Adolescent daughters are likely to be worried about their own risk of breast cancer. Whether or not they themselves bring this up, you should do so. It is honest to be optimistic about their future health, and you should say so.

Reassure your children that they can continue to have friends come over once you feel up to the company. Tell them you will not embarrass them on purpose, but make sure that they tell their friends what to expect—for example, Mom may be wearing a hat/turban/wig while she is waiting for her hair to grow in. Mothers of adolescent boys in particular have told us many stories of endearing behavior centered around their parent’s baldness. If you are comfortable at home without anything on your head, it is likely that your children will be, too. You may find that your son’s friends make a point of rubbing your bald head as they say hello. We have even known a few sons who shaved their own heads in solidarity with their mother, and we heard of one son’s entire basketball team doing the same thing as a way of showing support.


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This entry was posted on Thursday, April 2nd, 2009 at 10:33 am and is filed under Women's Health. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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