If you have young children or teenagers you will be thinking about when, where and who is the best person to tell them about your diagnosis. Family counsellors recommend telling children about serious news as soon as you can and in an age appropriate way. You may want the support of a health care professional or close family member who can be there with you when you talk to your children or who may tell the children about your diagnosis with you there. Talking to other parents who have gone through this experience with their children can also be helpful. Please remember, if you need assistance in communicating with children and teenagers, our MND nurses can support you with this.
Some people may want to ‘protect’ their children from the illness, however it’s important to know that this does not necessarily help your child. Your child will more than likely already know that changes are occurring and may be confused as to the reason, and they may even blame themselves. Remember there is no right or wrong way to tell your children and you may think you didn’t get it quite right. You children may have a number of questions that may come from a place of naivety, nonetheless these should be answered as positively as possible.
Specifically for younger children, if you answer their questions as truthfully as possible, it will help your child feel trusted and secure knowing if they have questions in the future they will get honesty. Your children will understand that they are loved and included through your reassurance and by you doing positive things with them, such as having regular times for a cuddle and a chat and trying to answer their questions.
For more information on this, please see our Talking to Young People Resources HERE.