Chapter 1: An early and honest approach

A family approach

I've been there
Kelly describes how she and her husband Bruno were open and honest with their son Max about Bruno's illness. (3:22)Video transcript

..telling them the truth from the beginning sets the stage for an openness that needs to be there throughout the illness and afterward. When they are involved in this way, they will always be certain that they are a part of the family.They will know that there are no family secrets that isolate them from each other and don't know what they see, what they know and what they feel. - Phyllis Silverman

It’s almost impossible to control the flow of information outside the family. When information is withheld, children often learn about life-limiting illness or dying from an older sibling, peer or by overhearing conversations. 

Ideally, they will first learn this information:

  • From their parent or guardian.
  • In a safe, supportive environment where they can ask questions and receive accurate information. 

The sooner parents provide honest information, the less likely children are to hear this news accidentally or from people who might be less supportive and informed.