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Counselling for children

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My husband was diagnosed with Gbm last summer and he is just about to finish his six months of chemotherapy. We have three children and the eldest two are teenagers who understand more than their younger sister. As we come to this stage in his illness, I’m starting to wonder what counselling is out there for the older two. My husband won’t entertain the idea of counselling for any of us, him included and school have said ghat they would happily have someone meet with the children on their site. What have others done to help their teens through this horrible time? Thanks 

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My husband was diagnosed on June and we have a boy aged 5 so he's very young. He understands daddy is poorly and it has been quite a change for him even this young. We live in Northern Ireland and there's a group over here call cancer focus and me an my husband seen someone from it for counselling which really helped. Helped us to understand how we were feeling and how to cope with our emotions. Not sure if they are just based over here. Does your husband have a social worker at the hospital? If so you could ask them to point you in the right direction for a specialist cancer counsellor xx

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Hi anna ,  i to have teenagers who are doing brilliantly.  I have, and always will be completely honest with them about their dads situation. I answer questions truthfully as they arise without making it a big deal. All their friends know ,so they have complete transparancy around them with no secrets.  

They are no where near needing any form of councelling at the minute, i hope that never changes.   They appreciate me telling them about how he is etc , if hes more tired perhaps or not feeling to good that way there are no surprises if things take a turn for the worst .   Im no expert but i find the best 'councelling ' my kids need at present , is honesty, openess and friends to talk to if and when they want to , sometimes they dont want it to be seen as a big deal!

  Wishing you and your family all the best and so sorry that we are on this journey . 

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I was worried about my kids (ages 12 and 6) and how they would react. Although we always told the truth when asked, in the initial stages, we didn't elaborate to them on what having brain cancer meant. We told them how it would be fought and left it at that. Eventually the oldest one started asking the tougher questions which I answered honest and we would have a crying session. But after every session like that, the oldest would be back to normal again. 

They were both there when my mother passed away and we all had a good cry. But I have founds that kids have an incredible ability to process grief and get on with their lives. By the next day, they were back to being their normal selves and I was forcing myself to put on a happy appearance that I didn't feel. Now three months later, they are still doing fine and we talk about my mother all the time. I have no worries about them. I am still searching for a new normal. My father is still mourning heavily. 

A good friend of mine passed away a few years back due to a different type of cancer and left behind a 13 year old son. I have stayed in contact with the son ever since and he too has had no lasting problems with the loss of his father. He has figured out the new normal and is thriving in school. 

Saying all this, I still would keep close eyes on my children in case counselling is warranted, but I think they can handle grief much more efficiently than we adults can.

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My children (16/17 and 19/20 when their dad was ill) had counselling when he spent some respite time in our local hospice. It was clear the way things were going at that point, and I feel that prior to that they were probably not ready for such probing. However it was timely when it happened and helped them to talk about some of their fears. I think the only advice I can give is let them know that counselling is available should they want to take it up, and reissue the invitation periodically. A year and a half later, both of them are doing OK, although my son has said that he does not rule out some kind of psychological support in the future. Losing a parent is a devastating thing, and although I agree that young people are resilient, their grief might take a long time to process so the need for support might be ongoing. However you are not there yet (long may that continue) and hopefully there are many good times ahead for your family alongside the more tricky stuff. Sending you good wishes.