Sources of Support

The effort to "put up a front" is draining, isolating, and counterproductive. Support groups can be a powerful way of letting down these fronts a bit at a time among people who understand and feel the same conflicting pressure— to act as though everything is all right when it is not.

—David Spiegel, MD Living Beyond Limits the diagnosis of cancer can be a frightening and isolating experience. Every parent of a child with cancer has a story to tell of lost or strained friendships. Yet we are social creatures, reliant on a web of support from family, friends, neighbors, and church. We need the presence of people who not only care for us, but who try hard to understand what we are feeling. Many parents experience deep loneliness after the first rush of visits, cards, and phone calls ends, when the rest of the world goes back to normal life.

Members of families struck by childhood cancer—parents, child with cancer, and siblings—are turning increasingly to support groups and various other forms of psychological help. Families join support groups to dispel isolation, share suggestions for dealing with the illness and its side effects, and talk to others who are living through the same crisis. Individual and family counseling can help address shifting responsibilities within the family, explore methods to improve communication, and help find ways to channel strong feelings constructively.

The various methods of support described in this chapter can help families regain a sense of control over their lives and can provide a setting for making wonderful new friends.

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Confident Kids

Confident Kids

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.

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