Concrete ideas for parenting on empty (especially around the holidays)

Holiday cookies

By Sandy Lipkus, En famille Coordinator

Holiday cookies

The holiday season can be busy and chaotic at the best of times, however, this time can be especially exhausting for a family living with a cancer diagnosis. Here are some suggestions that might make it easier:

• Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Create a network. Often people want to help but do not know how to ask or what to do.

• Try and find someone who is willing to act as a “coordinator” (meals, shopping, transporting kids etc.)

• Schedule family “update meetings”. Share how everyone is feeling, find out new information. Help your children stay connected and feel included: Create a sense of togetherness

• Search out community support and resources (support groups, school guidance counselor, holiday baskets, volunteers etc.)

• Use the Internet to purchase gifts or gift cards.

• Prepare children for possible side effects. Use language that is age appropriate.

• Get together with other parents and families if possible.

• Let children know of any changes in their regular routine or activities as soon as possible.

• Reinforce that they should not listen to what others say about your health. You, as the parent, will give them the details.

• Do only what you are physically and emotionally capable of. Do not succumb to pressure from family or friends.

• Respect your teens’ privacy and give them some space. They may not want to talk. Encourage consistency with friends and social activities.

• It’s ok to start new traditions. Change is good.

Please take advantage of everything that the Hope & Cope En famille program has to offer by contacting Sandy Lipkus at 514-340-8222, ext. 2591 or Rifka Hanfling, ext. 4854.

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