Chapter 5: The 4 C's
Did I cause it?
We had absolutely no idea that Javier thought he was responsible for his brother’s cancer.
Children often believe their thoughts or wishes can influence the world around them. While this belief is a natural part of their development, it can cause them to feel responsible for someone’s illness, dying or death.
Most children wonder about what caused an illness or death. When they’re not given information or an explanation, they often imagine that they were somehow responsible.
They might think:
The baby died because I said I didn’t want a sister.
My mom yelled at me to clean up my room so much that she got throat cancer.
I was mad at my brother for not sharing his candy and then he got a brain tumour.
I stressed my dad out so much that he had a heart attack.
Even if they aren’t outwardly expressing worry or guilt, both children and young people need reassurance that they aren’t in any way responsible for the illness or death.