The authors remind us that the task of parenting is hard enough, even when Mom and Dad are healthy, energetic and emotionally strong. Add a diagnosis of cancer, heart disease, or a debilitating accident to the mix, and parenting can quickly become overwhelming. They acknowledge that anyone faced with a serious health crisis will be challenged daily to decide on treatment options, to reorient priorities, and to deal with the many stages of grief that humans suffer when confronted with survival issues. They help us remember that one member’s illness will affect the entire family system, and explain how.
The book is unique:
• It deals with any kind of serious illness, not just cancer.
• It explains how children of different age ranges commonly react to a parent’s illness, or other family crisis.
• It suggests specific language in talking to children of different ages.
• A full chapter is devoted to advantages and disadvantages of using information technology, rarely covered in other books on this topic.
• Based on extensive qualitative research.
• Includes excerpts from interviews with parents and children coping with illness in the family.
Both authors rely on their training, but also on early life experience in which they encountered traumatic family events. As a teenager, Courtney Nathan lost her mother to breast cancer. Leigh Collins suffered a terrible accident as a young child, and was confined in hospital for many weeks. Their book reflects a dedication to other families who face such life-altering circumstances.
The book has received wide endorsement from medical doctors and social service personnel who know the urgent need for this information for their patients and clients.
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Courtney Nathan, LCSW owns and manages the Professional Development Network, offering affordable professional development to clinicians. She is a clinical social worker with 10+ years experience with adolescents and young adults. Having lost her own mother as a teen, Courtney is motivated to help other children to cope with a parent’s serious illness. Courtney earned her MSW from Tulane School of Social Work in 1993. She is married with two children and lives in New Orleans.
Read an Excerpt
At its heart, this book is about parenting. Although by nature a very personal and private matter, the effect of a parent’s serious illness on the family is far-reaching. Most children, particularly young ones, expect their parents to be able to solve any problem and to take care of them no matter what. Naturally, as a parent you want to meet the challenge, but a serious illness will probably entail some big changes in how you take care of your children. Just when you feel most vulnerable and grief-stricken, your children need you to be strongest for them. Just as your own fears of mortality threaten to overwhelm you, your children need you to assure them that you will survive. Before you can meet your children’s needs, you must first garner all your strength and resources.
Think of it this way: each time you board an airplane, you’re informed that, in the event of an emergency, you should provide yourself with oxygen before attempting to help others. When faced with a serious illness, you need to care for yourself first in order to be able to care for your children. In this book we explore why that can be extremely difficult, and we suggest ways to do it.
If you’re like most parents, one of your greatest fears is that something bad will happen to your children. Your instinct is to protect your children at all costs. Sometimes that’s not possible. If you’re reading this book, chances are something is now happening to you, and you have to cope with that reality.
When you learned that you had a serious illness, your initial thoughts were probably about what the illness would mean for you. Most people wonder how, and if, they can fight the illness, how it will affect their bodies and minds, and whether or not they might die. Thoughts about how the illness will affect the family often come later; that’s normal and natural.
Most parents know that their own death would be a huge crisis in their children’s lives. They also know that a serious illness, even if not potentially fatal, would change the lives of everyone in the family, at least temporarily.