Care book: Communication

With your child
Sometimes it is difficult to discuss the situation with your child directly. One option is to ask his/her favourite cuddly toy what they are thinking. That can make it easier to talk about dying. If your child is not asking questions and you don’t have the impression that they have those questions, then you don’t need to tell any more. Children tend to indicate clearly what they want to know. You might want to engage psychological help for how to tell brothers and sisters what is coming. If you feel that your child does not want to know, don’t let anyone else persuade you that you have to tell them. Follow your own instincts as a parent!

If your child asks ‘why am I going to die?’ don’t answer that directly but try to make the questions more specific by asking ‘why are you asking that?’

With friends and family
You can keep people informed about the situation with your child by sending a group email or updating a blog. Family and friends can provide a lot of support but sometimes dealing with their sadness can also cost a lot of energy. You might need to take a bit of distance or in any case, arrange it so that you are not constantly having to repeat the same story.