"So you're okay now?" I ask, I feel like I was hit by a truck. He said yes, we would embrace and that was it.
But I'm not okay. I was angry, hurt and shaken. I don't think so. I wonder if my mom thought I was this fragile kid who couldn't cope with anything critical even when I was 16. What if I'm really capable of that? The thought put seeds of doubt in my brain. Even as an adult, I sometimes feel paralyzed by stressful situations and talk about my ability to reach them.
It is not uncommon for parents to maintain a serious diagnosis such as cancer from their children, says Evan Imber-Black, director of the Center for Families and Health at the Ackerman Institute in New York. "I think parents often think they need to protect their children from this knowledge, which is going to be very annoying."
Shame can also play a major role in why a parent keeps their illness a secret, such as fear of coping. the reality of the situation. For example, Vered DeLeeuw, a blogger with a recipe from San Francisco, believes his father kept his Parkinson's from his adult children because he didn't want to be pitied.
"We tried to honor his obvious desire not to talk about it," DeLeeuw said. "But it's incredibly frustrating to know that something is very wrong with a loved one and can't talk about it. or try to offer support. "
How other cultures view the disease is also a factor in family custody.
Jeanny (who preferred not to disclose her surname for privacy reasons), a leadership consultant from Sunnyvale, Calif., says, based on her experience, it's normal in Asian cultures for parents to keep a serious illness hidden from their children. Although Jeanny was 35, her parents denied their only daughter that her mother had breast cancer until the disease was forgiven a year later.
"I felt angry, robbed. , unified poor, inexpensive, and abandoned, "Jeanny said. "Especially, these are the ones I have always felt growing up in my traditional Asian American family, where emotional expressions, connections and genuine love and care for family members are not practiced."
While parents may think that they are protecting children from illness by keeping them in the dark, that can actually do more harm than good ̵
1; to everyone involved. Researchers at Columbia University studied the effects of 13,000 secrets and found that maintaining them often led to anxiety, decreased confidence and decreased enjoyment of life. , "Says Imber-Black." Because children are very good detectives, and they know when something is being restrained. "
When younger children think of their parents, they often think the worst case – that one parent is dying and there is one parent – they can do nothing about it.However that is the case, distrust of the children of truth creates fear and resentment instead of love and support, which may, in time, permanently damage a parent-child relationship.
Musician and writer Adam Cole has been exposed to multiple sclerosis from him for six years, beginning when he was only 12, leaving Cole to make horrible assumptions about her. "
Imber-Black claims that keeping a disease also separates the sick parent, creating a divide between them and their family. This is also evident in the results from a trial conducted at Columbia University in particular secret guardians. Such isolation can lead to emotional and physical stress because hiding something so important requires effort.
That's easier said than done, especially if you're talking to preteens, who tend to blow things up disproportionately, and kids, who may need everything explained simply. It is even more difficult if sick parents are not able to stop their diagnosis for too long.
That's why Imber-Black recommends seeing a family therapist with experience working with people with ailments. She helped parents work on telling their children by having them play without children there. When there are two parents, sometimes he or she will have the sick parent play the child and the healthy parent will play the sick parent to help with the change perspective. Later, they'll see how it went and come up with a plan for actually telling.
While announcing an evaluation of adult children has its own challenges, if your children are young enough to live at home, the diagnosis can affect many aspects of their day to day life. -day life. That is why Imber-Black emphasizes that it should not be thought of as a one-time event.
"This is a process," he said. "It's not one to say. There needs to be at least occasional conversations about what's going on, what's the process, where we're in the process, and watching how much a child can get at a time. Then stop and take it someday. ”
You want to be careful not to overwhelm your children by talking about illness. It's a good thing for them to know that their parents are will not be defeated, but it is also important for them not to burn emotionally. ”You want to help keep life normal in an abnormal situation. [But] remain open to children's questions, "says Imber-Black.
Finally, while feeling strange at first, let your children comfort you not only okay but encouraged.
" Sometimes parents think they should just go in one direction, "says Imber-Black." No, it must go in that same direction. "
Keeping a life-changing change as a serious illness from your children it can have a huge impact on you and your family. Sharing it with them, however, can only strengthen your bond and help everyone navigate the journey ahead.