Lots of parents say how difficult they find telling friends and relatives that their child has cancer. And yet the people closest to you can be a huge source of strength to your family at this difficult time and throughout your child's cancer treatment. Although it can be daunting, telling others may help you to make sense of the situation yourself and feel more in control.
How do I tell them?
You could approach them directly, ask someone to inform them on your behalf, or you may only wish to tell very close family members or friends at this stage. Ultimately, it's your choice and good friends, family members and colleagues will always respect this.
When telling others about your child’s diagnosis:
- Start by thinking about who needs to know, and then who you need to speak to personally
- Don’t feel you need to tell everyone everything at once
- Is there someone you can ask to let others know on your behalf?
- You may find it easier to break the news over the phone
- Start by saying something like: 'I’m afraid I’ve got some worrying news…'
- Tell your friend or relative what's happening a few sentences at a time – like you, they won't be able to take in too much in one go
- Try not to be upset if they don't seem to know what to say, this is very normal to begin with.
Remember, your CLIC Sargent Social Worker can help with this and can offer support to any family members who are finding it particularly difficult to cope with the news.
Using social media
This might seem like a practical and effective way to spread the news more widely. However, it's worth thinking carefully about this first.
Once you've put it out there in public, it opens up a platform for people to make contact and ask questions. This may not be something you feel like dealing with at the moment.
- Learn how online support groups can connect you with other parents in similar situations
- Can't think of anything you need when offered help? Give your friends this leaflet with ten ways they can support you
- Read our guidance for talking to your child's siblings
Updated February 2017, next review due February 2018.