Zip Code:
  
Provider Type:
Provider:
        Listings:
          Parenting

          Explaining a Parent’s Illness to a Child

          January 05, 2003

          parentsick Kim, who is fighting cancer, has told her 4-year-old son Tyler that “Mommy has a boo boo.” She asks Dr. Phil how she can explain a little more to her son without scaring or worrying him.
          Dr. Phil responds:

          • “You can’t give away what you don’t have,” says Dr. Phil. Kim needs peace of mind for herself before she can pass on a positive attitude and a sense of optimism to her son.
          • Do not ever burden a child with adult issues. Do not give them something they do not have the coping skills to handle. Deal with a child on his level in terms he can understand. There’s nothing wrong with “Mommy has a boo boo.”
          • “I don’t want to hide from him when I’m not 100 percent,” says Kim. And Dr. Phil agrees that it can be good for a child to see “the whole gamut of emotions.” A child will learn, for example, that “when Mom cries, the world doesn’t come to an end. She’ll stop crying and things will be OK.” It is healthy for a child to see that Mom can cry, and later that day she may be laughing.
          • Don’t ever burden a child with something over which he/she has no control. The number one stressor for people is caused by external factors over which we have no influence.
          • Give information on a need-to-know basis. There is no reason for a child to know that his parent could die. But it’s OK for him to understand that Mommy isn’t feeling well or is having a rough day.
          • Don’t deny yourself the right to have good and bad days.

          Tell Us Your Story

          Be on the Show! Text “PHIL” to 88500
          Be on the Show

          Has This Year’s Election Made You Upset?

          Do you have different opinions about the election than some of your friends or family members? Has this caused friction or fighting?

          Be on the Show

          Know A Police Officer Making A Difference?

          Do you know a police officer or department that is making a real difference in their community?

          Be on the Show

          Is Anger Ruining Your Life?

          Are you being verbally and emotionally abused daily by a spouse or family member?

          Help & Resources

          Find Treatment Centers and Therapists!

          Check out the mental health treatment programs that have assisted Dr. Phil guests.

          Feeding America

          Learn how you can help feed a child this summer.

          Be on the Show

          Have a Story Dr. Phil Won’t Believe?

          Want to appear on Dr. Phil? Text PHIL to 88500