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Caring for a Seriously Ill Child

Caring for a seriously ill child can be draining, challenging, full of fear and uncertainty, not to mention incredibly difficult. There are physical challenges of your child to consider, as well as his or her emotional needs, and a great many medical concerns to think about. Plus there is the emotional toll that caring for a seriously ill child will take on yourself and other family members.

Take care of yourself- be prepared

You cannot be there for your child in every way possible if you do not take good care of yourself. Learn to take the situation moment by moment as opposed to day by day as things can change in a matter of seconds. Realize that there will be plenty of uncertainty and a fair share of stress and be prepared to run through a variety of emotions in the run of a day. Accept the fact that this is a learning experience for both yourself and your child and promise both of you that you will be there every step of the way. Become as educated as you can about your child’s illness and when others reach out to you to help, accept their help willingly.

Explain the illness to your child

A child needs to know and understand his or her medical condition. Always be honest with your child and always keep the lines of communication open between the two of you. This helps your child adjust to his or her set of circumstances. As you go about explaining the condition to your child answer his questions honestly and explain things in a simple yet informative manner. As well, explain the different treatments that the child will need to undergo and be honest with your child if he will suffer any discomfort or pain. Your aim is not to scare your child but instead to prepare him in a way that he knows what to expect.

Dealing with Emotions

Always allow your child to openly talk about the many emotions he is coping with, whether that it is fear, anxiety, frustration, uncertainty, anger and so on. Ask your child how he is feeling and listen to what he has to say, offering positive feedback when you feel it is called for. Allow your child to express himself however he chooses. Sometimes it may be by way of words but other times it may be by way of a story he writes, a drawing or even a song he chooses to sing.

Children often fear that they did something to cause themselves to become ill so make sure that you reassure your child that he is in no way responsible for his health condition. Tell him that you understand his feelings and that he is allowed to feel as he does. Make sure your child is constantly reassured that you love him and are there for him and so is the rest of his family. A seriously ill child needs reassurance even more often than does a child who has no health problems.

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