Family and friends

If a member of your family or a friend, or someone else you know is living with cancer, this group is the place to share your feelings and get support.

Explaining things to young children

Posted by

My Mum has just been diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. She has been told that she needs to undergo 6months of chemotherapy prior to surgery/surgeries (which may include a double mastectomy, if she has the BRCA1 gene)

My question is.....

How do I prepare my 6year old son for what is going to come- he is extremely close to his Nanny and sees her multiple times a week (currently including her picking him up from school). Obviously that won’t be able to happen and Nanny is potentially going to lose her hair and becoming extremely poorly through her treatment.

Any advice on how to prepare him for all of this without frightening him? 

I myself am petrified of what my Mum is going to have to go through and am trying hard not to let him see me upset, but kids are so smart so I want to have the conversation with him before chemo starts so he has time to get his little head around things and give him time to ask questions etc.

Thanks in advance for any advice you are able to give 

Posted by

Hi pjmumma my mum has just been diagnosed with breast cancer and I have a 10 year old who is very close to nana being that bit older we were able to explain it all to her. She is also receiving support for a quarries worker within school who is there if she needs to talk if she cant talk to me or my mum would the little ones school have something like this which could offer support

Posted by

Hi Shelly, thanks for your reply.

I’m sorry to hear your mum is going through this also, but unfortunately the nature of this forum, everyone here is dealing with this horrible disease in one form or another! 

I am going to speak to my little ones school and explain what’s going on.... it’s all very fresh, mum was only told last night that she has to have chemotherapy so we are all still in shock at the moment (we were thinking it would be lumpectomy and radio, so a bit of a bombshell). I’m not sure what the school will be able to offer but even if it’s just a case of being there to keep an eye on any changes in his behaviour/personality.

My brain is all over the place and I just don’t want to say the wrong thing.... I was going to just explain it simply as Nanny has a nasty bug that need some really strong medicines for quite a long time to kill it off. It’s the hair loss and mastectomy factor that I’m not sure how to broach with him, I know honesty is the best policy but I don’t want to overwhelm or scare him! x

Posted by

Hi, I don't know how much help this is, but my husband and I have recently had to explain my diagnosis and treatment to our two year old twins.

Obviously they are really too young to understand what's happening properly, but there are things they'll notice so we wanted to be upfront.

For the moment we have just said, mummy is not very well, which is why she's not doing so many things with them. She will have to have medicine to make her better, and the medicine will make her hair fall out and might make her very tired - but it's so that she can be better and do lots of things with them again. Sometimes mummy might have to go to the hospital where they were born, but hopefully not too often and daddy or grandma or auntie will always be around to look after them.

They seem to have completely accepted it for the moment - in fact, I think they are positively looking forward to seeing me without my hair! We both thought it's better that they know what is happening, but in terms and concepts they'll understand.

Obviously your son is older and might be able to digest more detail- but maybe a similar approach would work?

Good luck! J xxx

Posted by

Thank you Jess!

I am sorry that you are facing this too xx

I agree that it’s best for kiddies to know what’s happening/going to happen ahead of time to give them time to digest and come to terms with things that may happen.

I hope that you get through chemo without too much suffering/sickness xx