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Helping young child cope Helping young child cope

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Unread 11-23-2006, 07:54 AM
Helping young child cope

As some of you may already know, I was diagnosed with Adenocarcinoma in situ of the cervix when I was pregnant, subsequently had a stressful pregnancy complete with a cone biopsy, had a difficult recovery from labor, then the baby had unexpected surgery 2 weeks ago and finally I had a vaginal hysterectomy 1 1/2 weeks ago. I've had various relatives fly in to help me with the baby. My 4 1/2 year old seems to be having an extremely difficult time coping with the situation. She was absolutly horrid with my mom, would often refuse to talk to her or be nasty when she did speak. She's had horrible screaming tantrums and just seems a mess in general. I'm having a difficult time dealing with her especially since I'm still recovering from surgery and my DH is also having a hard time of it because he's so sleep deprived from the baby. Has anyone else had a hard time with their children dealing with illness/change and any advice on how to deal with it? I'm seriously considering going to a counseler for her, but perhaps that's too extreme.
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Unread 11-23-2006, 09:24 AM
Helping young child cope

Boy, do I know where you're coming from to some extent. I have 2 children 3 and 5 and went through surgery and radiation. They were very curious especially since I couldn't lift them like I did before. It's hard when you're a momma. It often seems that no one else can do or be what we are to them. I felt guilty despite my logical self. I'm wondering about what you have told your daughter about things. There was a part of me that wanted to shield them from the word "cancer" because my oldest's experience with cancer ended in an aunt's death. I avoided it. I finally told him that the "boo boo in my belly" was cancer. You know what he said? "Yeah, I know, Mom." It was very apparent when he had enough information. He took the lead. The other factor for you is that you have a new baby. She is probably jealous. I find with my kids that if I call it like it is, "it must be hard sharing Mommy with everyone else, etc, etc." it helped diffuse things. Special time with your older child might help too. Even if it's just coloring or snuggling and watching a movie, just the two of you. In addition, most cancer centers have counselor on staff who may be able to give some suggestions as well. As far as the counselor thing being too extreme, we are new at this. How the heck are we supposed to know what to do. We go to the pro's. That's what I did. It doesn't mean we are failures or that your child is out of control. Things are hard now. They have unsophisticated ways of communicating (the screaming tantrum). There are a variety of web sites that offer suggestions as well. I hope this helps. Sorry it was so long winded. Hang in there. I have learned that children are far more resilient that we ever could begin to know. My thoughts are with you.
Unread 11-23-2006, 10:46 AM
Helping young child cope

I played a TON of board games with my 6 yr old. Since I wasn't able to do much else after the cone-and during chemo I was her private playmate. We also did allot learning (reading math). After the baby/hyst I had less time, but was sure to spend any time I had doing things she liked-reading games art (buy a Magna-doodle and draw together). Alex loves when we collaborate on art.
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Unread 11-23-2006, 12:17 PM
Helping young child cope

Thanks guys. My mom acted like my daughter, Zoe, needed to be committed. It's been tough dealing with her outbursts. I'm going to try to look for a book at the bookstore that deals with these types of issues. Also, contacting the cancer center is a fabulous idea. I go in for a checkup on Tuesday and I'll ask then. Right now I'm going to go work with her on her Magnadoodle!
Unread 11-23-2006, 05:47 PM
Helping young child cope

My daughter, at my diagnosis, was 6 and is now 7 with my second round of chemo. She has been my most needy and traumatized of my children. My 4, now 5 yr old has been very matter of fact and very solicitious of my care and needs. He's also my snuggler. As for my daughter she requires huge amounts of reassurance, focusing her on what is real and not imagined, thinking of the positive as in what I can do rather than what I can't. Her worse times are when she is overtired and can't fall asleep. She lays in bed imagining all kinds of things. My friend tells me this is how she exhibits her anxiety.
After my first round of chemo following my hysterectomy their behavior was horrid. I was ashamed of how they treated others and whined and cried and carried on. Reestablishing a regular routine and expected behavior standards settled this behavior quickly. They had a series of care givers and very lax rules.
When I began my second round of chemo they both acted out and defied me when I was exhausted and in a lot of pain. They seemed to be trying to make me get up and be 'normal' instead of resting so much. Again I was firm with the expected behavior and also, since evenings were the worse when we were all tired, I made a point to read stories or play games with them before bedtime.
They often can not or are afraid to express their fears with us but it seems to be reassuring to them to have life be routine and expected and for boundaries to be set. My friend was also available on short notice to pick them up and take them to the park or outside to play. She was very honest with them about their comments and worries and explained to them how I was feeling, and how they could help me. They seemed to take that to heart.
Unread 11-24-2006, 07:54 AM
Helping young child cope

We have been really lax with the discipiline because we felt sorry for her, but perhaps that did more harm than good.
Unread 11-24-2006, 09:46 PM
Helping young child cope

Hi There

I am glad you brought this subject up, I am 44 year old Mommy of 18 month old twins and 4.5 year old and soon will be have hysterectomy with RSO (left one is already gone) for borderline ovarian cancer. I am more scared about the trauma with my children then too me. Or the changes that I will or might go thru that would afect them (foggy brain, no patience or not being about to lift them).

I am glad there are a few mommies here so if I need suggestion I know where to turn
Unread 11-25-2006, 06:31 AM
Helping young child cope

also i never used the "c" word with Alex, she is very smart and would know how serious things were. She watches the news with us and sees cancer in news stories about people that die. I told her i was very sick and left it at that.

I did not want to burden her (if it wasn't necessary-yet) any more than I had to. I did explain that sometimes people get sick and that I hope I get better. But I think young children don't need to carry that much worry unless things are looking grim.

I told her if I was going to lose my hair that she could give me a haircut first! She loved that idea, but I never lost any hair.

Unread 11-25-2006, 06:15 PM
Helping young child cope

I struggle with my everyday colds, sore throats, etc. I have lupus too, so my immune system is not so great. My older son seems to worry when I go to the doctor or when I'm sick in any capacity. I try to reassure him and let him know exactly what is going on. Being a mommy of younger children is tricky. We are tired and don't feel very well. In addition to that, we feel guilty. We give our kids a break in certain instances when we normally wouldn't have. It helped me when I finally came to the realization that we are all changed. Each and everyone of us. We will find a new way to be and live with one another. As far as relaxing rules goes, you are doing the best you can. The most important thing is that you love each other the best you can, including yourself. Being a mom is hard when you're healthy. It's more difficult when we are sick. Try to be kind to yourself. It's nice to know there are other momma's out there with the same issues. Thanks for being there.
Unread 11-26-2006, 06:56 AM
Helping young child cope

I just wish I had looked into this earlier (like talking to Zoe's pediatrician) to find ways to talk to her about illness, new baby, etc. Scardee Kat, that's probably what I would recommend to you, try to find some ways in advance to cope before you are exhausted and recovering from surgery. Thanks for the nice words, jjcinderblock. Moms always seem to have so much guilt.

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