When I approach a child, he inspires in me two sentiments: tenderness for what he is, and respect for what he may become.
—Louis Pasteur under the best of circumstances, child rearing is a daunting task. When parenting is complicated by an overwhelming crisis such as leukemia, communication within the family may suffer. Prior to the diagnosis, children know the family rules and understand the limits for their behavior. Afterward, normal family life is disrupted, and all sorts of confusing and distressing feelings may appear. Parenting may need to change in response to the frequently shifting needs of the ill child and affected siblings.
This chapter begins with a discussion about feelings that many children have about their disease. Next, it examines some emotional and behavioral changes in both children and parents. Finally, it presents suggestions on how to maintain effective communication and appropriate behavior within the family.
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Although nobody gets a parenting manual or bible in the delivery room, it is our duty as parents to try to make our kids as well rounded, happy and confident as possible. It is a lot easier to bring up great kids than it is to try and fix problems caused by bad parenting, when our kids have become adults. Our children are all individuals - they are not our property but people in their own right.