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Ways to help your child if treatments aren't working

There are many things you can do to help your child. Exactly what you  choose to do,  and when, is a very personal choice. Here are suggestions that have helped others during this difficult time:

Ask for help and support.

The people on your child’s health care team have helped other families facing similar situations. Talk  with them to learn what can help your child and family cope with end-of-life decisions, concerns, and emotions.

Be honest with your child.

As you go through this time, remember to care for yourself. You have come a long way and you are doing an amazing job. You are stronger than you think. Choose to make the most of each day, living fully in the present — and in so doing, helping your child to do the same. Sometimes simple things are the most meaningful, for both you and your child.

“Treatment wasn’t working anymore for our son. The doctor told us that he would not survive. That was the worst day of my life. Still, I knew I had to be strong. When we talked with Ryan he asked if we would keep running in a race that gives funds to his hospital. Ryan used to love running in this race, even before he had cancer. So now, each year, we continue to run.”

Help your child to open up.

Your child may be picking up cues from friends, family, and others that treatment is not going well. Some children choose to remain silent about what they know or suspect because they do not want to upset you or see you cry.  Children may try  to protect you from their own worries or fears. Letting your child know that she can share anything with you can help her feel less scared and alone.

Let your child have fun.

Take cues from your child. If he feels up to doing something, encourage it—and if he doesn’t, let that be okay too. If there is a birthday or holiday that your child is looking forward to, feel free to celebrate that day earlier. For example, it may mean celebrating Christmas in July. Talk with your child about what would be meaningful to her. There are wish fulfillment organizations that may be able to help your child’s wishes and dreams come true.

Share your spiritual beliefs.

Your spiritual beliefs may comfort and help your child, just as they do you and others in your family. Some parents find it helps to have a member from their religious community talk with their child and family.

Keep making memories.

Talk about fun times and special memories. Talk about the many people that your child means so much to. If your child  feels  up  to  it,  write,  draw,  or  make a photo book together. Talk about special things your child has done that people will always remember. Some children choose to write letters or give some of their toys to the people they love.

Take it one day at a time .

As you go through this time, remember to care for yourself. You have come a long way and you are doing an amazing job. You are stronger than you think. Choose to make the most of each day, living fully in the present — and in so doing, helping your child to do the same. Sometimes simple things are the most meaningful, for both you and your child.

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