Supportive Care at the Joan Karnell Cancer Center
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Level of Understanding and Developmental Stage

  • Beginning to focus more on friends than family.
  • Think logically and begin to develop abstract reasoning. They absorb new information quickly.
  • Want to “fit-in” and therefore are aware of what is socially acceptable.
  • Meaning of illness relates to the visible symptoms.

Helping Them Cope

  • Answer their questions and assure them that you will keep them updated.
  • Ask them about their understanding of cancer because children at this age may do their own research on the internet.
  • They may hide their emotions to appear more grown up; encourage them to share their feelings with you by sharing your feelings.
  • Encourage your child to remain involved with friends and other activities. Allow them to assume additional responsibilities around the home if they went to help, but try not to overload them.
  • Reassure the child that they are healthy and it is not their fault that their parent is sick.


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Need an appointment? Request one online 24 hours/day, 7 days/week or call 800-789-PENN (7366) to speak to a referral counselor.

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