Brothers and sisters

My brother is 11 and doesn't understand about my cancer. How can I help him understand?

It can be really hard to explain things. You could ask your parents or another adult who knows what’s happening to talk to your brother and answer his questions. If he can visit you when you’re in hospital, this could help him understand more about what is happening as well. You could ask your mum or dad to order some great books that you can read together.

My little sister feels left out. What would make her feel better?

It’s great that you’re thinking of ways to help your sister. Sometimes brothers and sisters can feel a bit jealous of the attention you’re getting. Plus it can be tough if you’re in hospital and mum and dad are with you, and they have to stay with someone else. Maybe you could all do something together, like a trip to the park or a movie evening at home. You could suggest that your parents do something just with your sister so she feels special too.

My big brother doesn’t want to talk about my cancer. How can I help him open up?

Your brother might have lots of questions but feel worried about bothering you or your parents. Why not suggest that he writes his thoughts down? You could ask if he would like to talk to somebody from CLIC Sargent or find out if they can put him in touch with other people his age whose brother or sister has cancer. It’s a good idea to tell your parents that you’re worried, so they can try to help him too.

When I have a headache, what can I say to my sisters to stop them from bring too loud?

Your sisters might not always understand that you’re feeling tired or unwell. But if you tell them how you feel, you might be surprised by how understanding they are. Of course, they need room to be their noisy selves too sometimes! When you need some peace and quiet, how about spending some time in your room reading a book or listening to music with headphones? Or ask your parents to help your sisters find something quieter to do, like watching a film or doing a craft activity.

I sometimes get easily angry with my brother. Is there a way to keep calm?

See if you can stop, take some deep breaths, and count to 10 (or 100 if you are really cross!) before you say something you may feel unhappy about later. It may also help to talk to your family about how you are feeling. Maybe your brother can tell you how he is feeling too. It may not stop you feeling cross with each other but it could change the way you handle it.

Updated April 2018, next review due 2021.