Giving 4 yo bad news

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Giving 4 yo bad news

Postby *~*PINKPIXIE*~* » Mon Aug 19, 2013 6:30 am

Sadly my mum has just been diagnosed with a brain tumour. We don't know prognosis or details yet but it's not looking good. Harry is very close to her and has been with her one day a week since he was a baby. He's been interested (too interested in my view) about illness and dying so is aware of what can happen but I'm really not sure what to tell him and how much on this. He's already asking questions and I just don't know what to say to him about the current situation or should the worst happen. Any advice or books we could get?
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Re: Giving 4 yo bad news

Postby Kasha » Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:55 pm

Claire i nave no advicereally, i just wanted to send you lots of love at what must be a very distressing time x
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Re: Giving 4 yo bad news

Postby Hols969 » Mon Aug 19, 2013 3:31 pm

I dont think its unusual for them to 'focus' on illness, I know Noah did and wants to know the ins and outs of it all. He loves to watch Grandma jab herself with her diabetes injection, think he is just facinated by it all. Really sorry about your Ma but hopefully they have caught it early and it is treatable. I think I would say something like, Grandma has a problem in her head and they need to look at it as they arent sure what it is. I wouldnt necessarily say its bad news yet to be honest as it may well not be, but Grandma may feel a bit poorly and unable to look after him.

Im sure there will be books on it, I had an I am Adopted book when I was about 3-4 so Im sure there must be something, but we all know our children best and Im not sure at 4 how much they can grasp even though they are facinated by it all.

Hope all turns out ok for your Ma xx
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Re: Giving 4 yo bad news

Postby beshem » Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:42 pm

Sorry to hear about your mum, hopefully you'll get some good news when she's had all her test results back...

I was in a similar situation when my LO was 3. My Dad was suddenly diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer and had to have a major op, loads of time in hosp and chemo for 9 months. My LO was looked after by my parents since he was 1 for 2 days a week so it was all change.

I was just honest and vague! I said Grandad has a very poorly tummy and the nice doctors & nurses at hospital have to make him better. My dad had to be kept away from the kids (6 grandchildren) as infection such as chicken pox etc is really bad for chemo patients but we muddled through. If H asked why grandad wasn't visiting etc I just said he was feeling poorly.

We did have to put H into a nursery as my parents just couldn't have him but it worked out fine.

Glad to say my dad has been in remission for 18mths :))))

Really hope you get some positive news and its amazing how kids adapt!! xx
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Re: Giving 4 yo bad news

Postby Tinker » Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:04 pm

Hi,
Firstly I just want to say I am so sorry to hear your sad news. My mum was diagnosed with bone cancer two years ago and Toby was only 3 but I couldn't really find any books for the under 5 s. I didn't go into too much detail about the illness just that she was ill and doctors were trying to fix her. Unfortunately she died and I have had many questions about illness and death which I do my best to fudge through until he moves on to something else.
Hope it all works out.
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Re: Giving 4 yo bad news

Postby *~*PINKPIXIE*~* » Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:32 am

Thanks for the replies, I think I will go for the vague approach and try to distract him onto something else. This is hard on so many levels.
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Re: Giving 4 yo bad news

Postby Steph Pet! » Wed Aug 21, 2013 6:45 am

Oh hun I'm sooooo sorry....sending ((((hugs)))))

As far as what to do Archie was 4 when BIL was diagnosed with cancer and as with Harry he asked lots and lots of questions. I have to say the best thing we found was to be up front and honest with him....firstly it made it easier for him to understand when he saw ppl upset and things and secondly it stopped him asking too many questions...kids have a funny way of just accepting things. We didn't go into gory details we just told him BIL was very very poorly and that everyone was upset and when he asked things like "Is he going to die?" we were honest and said "we hope not but he might" (we obv knew more about how far it had progressed early on).

As far as what happens should the worst come...everyone has their own views on what happens when ppl die but for us we're not religious in the slightest so we were pretty black and white about it all. We also found as we'd been so honest from the offset that when BIL did pass away Archie handled it all really well. Although I did tell him if he wanted to think of BIL to look for a big bright star in the sky....and he seemed to accept this....

There is no easy way to do it pet...
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Re: Giving 4 yo bad news

Postby Lenny » Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:06 pm

Very sorry to hear about your mum.

I hope she does recover, but if you do need to prepare for the worst there is a charity called Winston's Wish which has lots of info aimed at children of different ages
They also have some advice about talking to children about serious illness - it mentions parents' illness but could be adapted to talk about any other relative

http://www.winstonswish.org.uk/mainsect ... us+Illness

Also Child Bereavement UK and they have particular advice about losing a grandparent

http://www.childbereavementuk.org/Support

Thinking of you & family, it sounds very hard
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Re: Giving 4 yo bad news

Postby Doobykat » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:19 pm

Really sorry to hear abut your mum, Claire :(
Sending big hugs your way.

Have to say I'm with Steph on this one, in being up front & honest with Harry in what's going on.
We've recently lost our next door neighbour & while not someone as close maybe as a family member, he was someone that Erin had regular contact with (albeit over the garden fence!). It's resulted in a lot of questions from Erin about illnesses, why people get ill, what happens when they get ill, what happens when they die etc and to be honest, she's taken everything/all the answers in her stride, mulling it over in her own time & coming back to us with questions as & when she has them.
In a way, we've been helped by the cats on the subject of illness/dying/death with all the treasures they bring in from the fields. She gets the idea of a body (the physical part she can see) and the "spirit" (the thing she can't see that makes the body alive). It's quite a tricky concept to explain to a young child, I think, but however you choose to handle it, they do eventually come to grasp the concept in their own way.
x x x
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Re: Giving 4 yo bad news

Postby *~*PINKPIXIE*~* » Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:46 am

Thanks for all the advice. Oddly, he's not asked any further questions, but I expect they're coming.

Lenny thanks for the links, they look really helpful, I've emailed them to my DH too so he knows what to say/do too!
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Re: Giving 4 yo bad news

Postby espoir » Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:04 pm

so sorry to hear this. sending you hugs. xx
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Re: Giving 4 yo bad news

Postby Hols969 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:40 pm

How's things going Claire ?
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Re: Giving 4 yo bad news

Postby *~*PINKPIXIE*~* » Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:53 am

Thanks for asking. But not too good. They've found a second brain tumour and think therefore that it's secondary cancer with a primary site somewhere else. It's not confirmed but that's the way the evidence is pointing. Prognosis for this is poor - months rather than years. However, my mum is a fighter and she'll give it her best shot. We're expecting to find out more today when her multidisciplinary team meet.

Harry hasn't asked any more questions yet, but is acting up a bit so I think something's on his mind. I've asked him if there's anything he wants to talk about but he just says something like "Yes. I don't like watching Peppa Pig, it's so boring" or something like that. Not sure. He doesn't know the seriousness of the situation but he knows Nanny has been in hospital for a while and when Grandad comes round he's on his own. Even Edward has said "Where's Nanny?" a few times.
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Re: Giving 4 yo bad news

Postby Hols969 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:23 am

Oh goodness how awful, I'm really sorry, it must be tough for you all. What a shock as well, there is always a bit of you that has hope that it wont be as bad as you fear. I suppose the 'good' aspect if there is any is that you can be with your ma now. My mum lives quite a way away and we don't see her that often and actually for the first time in many many years I told my mum I loved her because of your mum, you never know what is around the corner and also how much you rely on your mum for emotional support sometimes without even realising it.

I hope things go as well as they can though xx we are here for you if you need to have a rant or weep.
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Re: Giving 4 yo bad news

Postby michelle79 » Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:19 pm

Really sorry to hear about your mum Claire.
Lots of love and take care
Michelle x
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