Supporting siblings of children with cancer
Around 300 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer every year. From one day to the next, the lives of everyone in the family are turned upside down. With this diagnosis, parents have to focus their attention almost entirely on the seriously ill child, which in turn inevitably means the needs of healthy siblings have to take a back seat. But what can parents and the people around them do to support the siblings of a sick child as much as possible during this difficult time?
Professional psychologist Andrea Kurzo answers these and other questions in an interview with family blogger Rita Angelone. As part of her work in the paediatric oncology department at the Children’s Hospital in Bern, the psychologist supports families with a child suffering from cancer. She describes what the illness of a brother or sister means for the siblings and how important it is to focus attention on their needs as well.
Most of those affected suffer most because of the loss of normality in their everyday life – suddenly virtually everything revolves around the sick child. Age-appropriate and open communication as well as the involvement of the siblings’ social environment, which can actively support parents and children during this difficult time, can be of great help.
The psychologist explains just how complex the challenges are for those affected, what help and support can be expected and also shows parents how best to accompany their healthy children. Find out more here (in German): Childhood cancer and siblings – attention relieves silent suffering (dieangelones.ch)
The podcast and the interview came about as part of Childhood Cancer Switzerland’s current awareness campaign “Siblings in the shadows”.