Why it's good to tell your child

Many parents want to protect their child by not telling them any information they think might scare them. A child's world is scarier when they do not know what is happening to them and around them. 

Even though it can be challenging, research shows that being open and honest (using age appropriate language) helps children cope with the situation and can alleviate fear or ‘magical thinking.’

Why you should tell your child about their diagnosis 

  • your child will build trust in parents and the care team and know what to expect
  • they may fill in gaps of information with their imagination, honest information helps correct any false ideas about cancer and treatment
  • will be more cooperative during treatments if they understand the importance of doing so (i.e. taking medicines will help you feel better) 
  • sense of understanding and control.

Consider the child's age when talking about cancer

Parents should consider their child's age when choosing the words that are used to talk about what cancer is and how it is treated. Your social worker can help you find ways to explain the diagnosis and treatment.

You may use colouring books, teaching dolls and other materials to help your child understand. You may need to tell your child about cancer more than once. As children grow older they may need and want to know more about their cancer and treatment.

Last updated Sunday 5th November 2023