Teenagers are dealing with a lot of issues in their lives. Finding out that a parent has a terminal illness won’t be easy for them to add to the list. Telling your teen that you have a terminal illness won’t be an easy task. Explaining to your teen that you have a terminal illness has to be done with a lot of care and consideration. You may get a reaction that you didn’t expect.
How to tell your teen that you have a terminal illness:
When to tell your teenager- The best time to tell your teens that you have a terminal illness is as soon as you possibly can. Don’t wait too long because they should be given some time to absorb the news and deal with it. You should be prepared for a lot of questions and a lot of anger. Give yourself enough time to prepare yourself for telling your teenagers about your illness, but deal with it quickly.
How much information to give- Your teenager needs to know that you are dying. They should also know about the disease that you have that is causing the problem. This will give them a little bit more understanding of what is happening to your body. They also need to know what they can do to help you deal with the illness itself. For instance, you may need to sleep more often so disturbing you during those times should be kept to a bare minimum.
Knowing when to stop talking- Your teenager will need time to absorb all the information that you just gave them. Don’t push the issue too far. If your teen indicates that he/she needs to take a break from the information, allow him/her to do so. Your teen will come back and ask you questions when he/she is ready to deal with the issues at hand.
Helping your teen cope- Now that your teen is faced with knowing they are going to lose a parent, it is time to help them cope with the idea of being without you. Preparing your child for that time will be one of the hardest things that you will ever have to do but it must be done. It is a time to say goodbye and to teach them how they will live without you in their daily lives. Explain to them exactly what will happen after you are gone. Ease their worries as much as possible so they will be more stable once the disease has taken completely over. If your teenager has a particularly hard time dealing with the situation, you may want to seek professional help, such as a counselor to help them through.
Telling a teenager that their parent is going to die will be one of the hardest things you ever have to do. It isn’t something that every parent has to deal with, but it is something that must be thought about if that time ever arises. Be prepared for a lot of hard questions. Make the time that you have left together as much of a good memory that you can make it for your teenagers. There are no rules on how to handle this situation. It is okay to be sad and to cry. It is also okay for you to tell your teenagers that it’s okay to do these things. They shouldn’t be made to feel obligated to hold back their real feelings about their parent having a terminal illness.