Monday, January 6, 2014

Helping Children Cope with a Parent's Serious Illness: Resources

[Reviewed and updated July 5, 2020]

A reader writes: My daughter just recently was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I want to know what I can do to make life easier for her and my four grandchildren. The children range in age from seven to thirteen. I understand that the kids are scared, but they are pushing everybody's boundaries at the moment, and my daughter is struggling big-time with their attitudes of defiance. I appreciate any help you can offer. Are there any resources "out there" that I should know about?

My response: I am so sorry to learn of your daughter's recent diagnosis with MS, and I can only imagine how difficult this must be for you, for your daughter and for her family.

Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you as you navigate your way through whatever lies ahead.

I've found some resources that I hope will be helpful to you (and to others reading this). Note that some refer to serious illnesses other than MS, such as cancer, and some articles are written from different points of view, but I think their content still may be relevant and useful.


Mulitiple Sclerosis: A Guide for Families

How to Help Children through a Parent’s Serious Illness: Supportive, Practical Advice from a Leading Child Life Specialist

Parenting through Crisis: Helping Kids in Times of Loss, Grief, and Change

Helping Children Cope with Separation and Loss, Revised Edition

Live in Wellness Now: A Proactive Guide to Living Well

When a Parent Has Cancer: A Guide to Caring for Your Children

When Someone Has A Very Serious Illness: Children Can Learn To Cope With Loss And Change ~ Book Review

What Is Cancer Anyway? Explaining Cancer to Children of All Ages

My Parent Has Cancer ~ Book Review

When Mommy Is Sick ~ Children’s Book, Ages 4 and up

Mom Has Cancer! (Let’s Talk About It) ~ Children’s Book, Ages 4-7

Talking to Children and Teens about Serious Illness ~ Booklet


Parenting with MS - from National Multiple Sclerosis Society

MSAA Publications: Magazine, Booklets and Brochures - from Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA)


Caregivers Guide: Talking to Kids When Anticipating a Death

Talking To Your Kids About Your Terminal Illness

Five Ways to Prepare Young Children to Visit A Loved One Who Is Dying 

Talking To Your Kids About Your Terminal Illness

How to Parent When Your Parent Is Dying

Through The Eyes of a Child: Including Children in The Dying Experience

Talking to Children about Serious Illness

Talking to Children When a Parent Is Dying

After a Father's Heart Attack, A Well-Meant Lie Backfires on the Playground

MS and Effective Communication with Your Doctor

Stress and Multiple Sclerosis

Talking with Children About a Parent’s Serious Illness

How to Tell Your Child You Have A Terminal Illness

Children at the Bedside of a Dying Family Member or Friend

Parental Illness: Helping Children Cope

Helping Children Cope with a Parent’s Chronic Illness

Don't Use the 'D' Word: Exploring Myths About Children and Death

Helping Kids Cope in Parent’s Illness

8 Tips for Talking to Your Children About an Elderly Loved One's Illness

Helping Your Healthy Child Cope with Your Illness

Living With Chronic Illness

Bereavement: 'A Terrible Beauty'

Tips for Talking with Children about Addiction and Overdose Loss

I'm hoping this information helps, and I am wishing peace and healing for you and your family. 

Your feedback is welcome! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question, or share a tip, a related article or a resource of your own in the Comments section below.
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