2023 Author: Anita Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-22 03:30
Living with a sick child is a big challenge. This imposes an unusual rhythm on the family since it involves extraordinary emotions that include worry, guilt and a different life that needs to be tamed.
How do we support our children when the siblings are turned upside down by disease? The sick child is the one who asks for care. So he has a different relationship than he would have if he were he althy. Hospital stays, operations, treatments, medication and all the logistics of appointments or transportation; there are so many details to put in place for each situation. And these elements are now part of the daily life of the family.
It is important to dare to say. Children need simple words, transparency and security. Taboos, secrets and the unspoken are gray areas to be avoided so that the child can build a solid and secure base.
Remember: safety is essential in a child's he althy build.
When we talk about saying everything, it is essenti alto say what the child is able to understand and hear. We respect his rhythm. We answer his questions simply by avoiding projections. We are often afraid of the reactions of our children. We want to protect them and that's when we project our own fears, but also our beliefs.
The Present Moment
Children often react very well, better than us. They need to know that they can stay safe, be listened to and surrounded. They are resilient because they do not approach life with the same feelings. They don't know the consequences, the present moment is their real. They don't have as much experience as us. And in the end, that's often a good thing because it gives us some space to deal with our own emotions.
Are the siblings also living at the rate of illness? The children of the sick child's siblings then know that their time is limited, even deferred, since there is an "emergency".
Here too name! We explain what is happening, what we would like, we talk about space-time with benchmarks that they can understand according to their age. Staying tuned will be a compass for better interacting with our children. We tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get it all right and still keep some semblance of routine.
But our children actually need little time; as long as that time is quality, authentic, connected and repeated.
To go further
Quebec Society for Handicapped Children
Organisme Le Petit Répit
Revue Laennec: Supporting the family of a seriously ill child