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How do we tell the kids


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This is such a scary topic for me!!!

My kids are DD6 and DS10.

They are extremely close to my Mom, and spend most weekends having sleepovers at Mumo's (that's how my son said grandma at 9 months old..and it just stuck..she is now officially Mumo to all the kids!) house!

All we know at this point, is that she has lung cancer. We do not yet know the type/stage etc..

We've decided not to tell them anything at this point because nothing has changed in their world yet. Mom is not really sick right now.

What I need to know is: How on earth do we tell them?? What do we tell them, and WHEN???

I CANNOT imagine telling them if my hubby and I are still smoking! It would scare them to death!

How do we do this?? Do we wait? Is it wrong of us to wait?

What do you all think?

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Hi there,

I went ahead and split the original thread that this post was in because I think it was being missed! I hope you don't mind. This way folks can read your questions and answer and offer advice to your situation.

And I do not think it's wrong to wait.

As for me, I would wait until the situation affected them. Kids are smart. They will "feel" a change and know that something is going on even if they can't figure out what.

I told my son that grandpa had gotten cancer and that cancer is an illness. It can be pretty scary because there are alot of doctors and medications working to try to make grandpa better. I told him mommy might be busy helping grandma more than usual but that everything (in his little world) was going to be the same and that he (my son) would always be ok.

My son didn't ask any questions for a long time. (he was 5 when my dad got lung cancer)

Once, several months into treatment when my dad had to be hospitalized for dehydration, my son asked if grandpa could die. I told him I didn't know. Some people get better and some people didn't. We'd just have to love each other a whole lot.

I think in your situation, you still have alot of information to find out first. You need to know dx., and treatment options, etc...I think kids should be told on a need to know basis only and right now there isn't anything for them to know.

If it were me, I'd wait until there were some answers and a better assesment of your mom's situation- maybe once treatment starts and you begin spending more and more time with your mom.

As far as continuing to smoke after your mom's dx., no judgement from me ever- but I think you know in your heart the answer to that question.

And if you continue to smoke, you have to accept the responsibilities of explaining that to your kids.

Good luck and please keep us updated. We are here for you.

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Thanks so much Katie, for splitting this off..and also for your wonderful reply :)

You have made me feel reassured. We spend tons of time with Mom now, always have, so that is not strange to them. I agree with keeping it simple, age appropriate...etc..

As for the smoking...hopefully by the time we need to tell them anything..that will be a non-issue!



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Katie said it so well, I have little to add!

I agree. Kids definitely sense something is going on, and I would gently and honestly answer their questions if asked right now. However, I see nothing wrong with waiting. Treatments will cause changes the kids may notice, and you can address it at that time.

Save them the worry, and let them be kids for now. But don't dodge their inquiries...they are sharper than adults give them credit for!!!!!!!!!!


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I'm so grateful to have my feelings backed up! Thank you so much.

We are big believers that all questions about anything should be answered with honest, age appropriate answers, so this is really good to hear. Thankfully, so far there's nothing from their point of view to ask questions about.



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Linda, as far as your questions, I don't have any answers, but I just wanted to say that you're at one of the toughest times right now. The waiting to see where you stand and where to go was the hardest part for me. I want to encourage you to hang in there, once you know staging and treatment ideas, IMHO, it gets easier. I agree that would be a good time to discuss it with the children.

Also, I want to encourage you on quitting smoking. I quit after my mom's diagnosis, this week makes a year since I have smoked. No it's not easy but it absolutely can be done. In the past two years, my mom, 2 of my aunts, three of my cousins, and at least 3 more of my closest friends have all quit. Your quitting will become an inspiration to others around you and set a good example for your kids! Best of luck to you.


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