Terminal Illness: Explaining terminal illness to little Children and adult children
Terminal illness is something that everyone wishes they will never have to face. Some have said that they will rather die in their sleep than have to go through a painful terminal illness. There reality is that we don't often decide what will happen to us and what illness will lead to our death. Everyday someone somewhere in the world has to deal with terminal illness and face up to the reality of life and death. It must be very strange to know you can no longer make plans for the future. As humans we live because we know there is tomorrow. Terminal illness is a different experience for everyone. Each person deals with terminal illness in a different way depending on their concept of death and the afterlife. How does terminal illness affect little children? How does terminal illness affect adult children?
Terminal illness and little children
Children general don't understand death as adult do. Little children don't understand the implications of an imminent death of a parent or a sibling. If the family member who is terminally ill is not yet bed ridden, it might be difficult for parents and adult to explain that the person will one day cease to exist. For some little children death is like sleeping and explaining what really happens after death is a challenge. How can adult explain something they don't fully understand to little children? How can you explain to your little children that doctors can no longer treat an illness?
The danger for little children is that some of them end up blaming themselves for the illness. Other little children will react differently when faced with terminal illness of a parent. They might begin to try and fixed the problem. Fear might be another issue when it comes to terminal illness and little children. Some little children will probably want to know if they will also die the same way. What if the disease is hereditary and there is a likelihood that your little child or children will suffer the same fate? Some parents might try to lie to their children when they are terminally ill. They might use euphemism in order to lessen the blow on little children. The problem is that there is no single way to explain terminal illness to little children. There is also no way to tell how your little child will react. The worst will be if your child doesn't react at all. It is often believed that those who keep their feelings within run a greater risk than those who share them. The same thing goes for little children faced with the terminal illness of a parent.
What to say about terminal illness to little children
Adults trying to explain terminal illness to little children need to be truthful and at the same time expect different reactions. For little children, it might be best to explain terminal illness in little steps. That is to say, explain that someone is very illness. Later, the terminal part of the illness can be explained. The timing will depend on each individual. For little children it might be beneficial to explain the medications, hospital visits, etc, and tell them that it will help with the pain or other symptoms. It can also be beneficial to ask what little children think about the explanation given and how they feel. This will allow them to express their fears, worries and bond better with the person that is terminally ill. What you say to your little children will depend a lot about the illness and what you feel. Remember, there is no best way to break the sad news. There is also no right or wrong way. The only obligation is that you have to explain to little children what terminal illness implies.
Terminal illness and adult children
Adult children are still children. It is always sad to know that your mother of father is dying. It can be difficult for adult children to manage their emotions and at the same time try to be comforting. Death is such a delicate subject and when you suddenly come face to face with terminal illness, you really don't know what to do. Adult children understand the implications of terminal illness. They also understand that death is imminent. On the other hand, adult children might feel helpless because there is nothing they can do. It can be a real challenge knowing someone you love is slipping away from you. The other issue with terminal illness is the pain that the victim might have to endure till the end.
When do you tell your adult children that you are terminally ill?
That is something difficult for parents because it can take a while for the victim to accept that the end is near. How will you explain something you don't want to accept? You should explain the illness and tell them how many months or weeks you have left. Unlike little children, adult children will be involved with funeral arrangements. If it is a matter of weeks, it might be best to inform them on time. It will take time for them to accept the shock. Once the initial shock subsides, adult children might start looking for alternative solutions. That is a normal when people have to deal with death due to terminal illness. As mentioned above, you have to do what is best for you and your family. There are no rules only guidelines that might help.