Good communication with your children helps everyone in the family cope with whatever changes lie ahead.

Among the many difficult questions parents face when a family member is diagnosed with cancer is “What do I tell my children?” Fearful that they might upset or worry their youngsters and teens, some parents withhold the news. But even at a very young age, children can sense when something is wrong. If not told the truth, they might imagine that things are worse than they really are or even that they themselves are the cause of the problem.

Talking to a child about a parent’s, grandparent’s, or sibling’s cancer and how it will affect the family isn’t easy, but it is necessary. This e-booklet can help. It includes tips for talking with children about a family member’s cancer and treatment. It also suggests ways to help children cope with some of the feelings they may experience during this time.

By talking with your children honestly and helping them express their emotions, you make it easier for them to feel safe and secure. And as their parent, you are the best judge of how to talk to your children. But the first conversation about cancer is often the hardest. The information in this booklet will help you start that conversation and give you the tools to keep it going every step of the way.