Provided By Parents, For Parents.

Handling the Holidays

Posted on Dec 03, 2012

Wondering how you can make the holidays easier for your friends and family dealing with pediatric cancer? Consider some of these helpful suggestions.

Although the holidays are a joyous time for most of us, for families of children with cancer, it tends to be a tough and awkward time for everyone involved with the child’s care. Most parents strive to make it fun and happy, observing traditions and keeping things normal. It’s everything but. Holidays are stressful when things are normal, so keeping it that way when you have a sick kid makes it that much harder. Cancer doesn’t take a holiday, and the ups and downs of treatment and dealing with the uncertainty of how your child might feel add to the pressure. If you want to help parent caregivers during this time, there are some basic things you can do to help.

The first thing to remember is parent’s need help but rarely ask for it. Asking for help is one of the things we try to get parents to do, but no one wants to be a burden, especially during the holidays. So, be proactive. If you are the parent of a sick child, ask! Family and friends want to help; they just need to know how. If you are a family member or good friend, let the parent know you are there for them if they need anything. Once you open that door, the parent feels better about asking. They might not take you up on it immediately, so just keep letting them know, without over-doing it. Hopefully, they’ll get the message.

Also, listen. I’m going to say this a lot, but one of the most helpful things you can do is just listen. Then acknowledge what you have heard and leave it at that. Don’t offer advice or try to change things. You can’t. No one can. So offer your support, your prayers, and remind them once again, if they need anything, you are there.

You can suggest things too. “Why don’t I bring over dinner tomorrow night so you can finish your shopping.” Or, “I’ll take the kids out to a movie so you can put up those decorations.” The more carefully you listen, the more it will become apparent what mom or dad might need. And, pretty soon, they will be calling and asking for your help. And that’s a gift every parent whose kid has cancer can use for the holidays!



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