Home > Ask Our Experts > How to Prepare My Son For Death of Terminally Ill Father?

How to Prepare My Son For Death of Terminally Ill Father?

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 13 Aug 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Teenagers Teens Teen Terminal Illness

Q.

How do I prepare my 13 year old son for the eventual loss of his father.

My 45 year old husband has become terminally ill and the doctor says there's not much chance of him recovering. I don't know how we must deal with this information.

(AK, 8 February 2009)

A.

Teenagers are caught in the middle of childhood and adulthood. On the one hand they are still dependent on their parents for their livelihood but on their other they are beginning to discover and assert themselves in order to build their own futures. When it comes to the illness of a teen's parent, there is no way to know how that teen will cope with the information. But, teens do deserve to know if one of their parents is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Telling your son that his father has become terminally ill is important so that your family can remain as open and honest as possible with each other during this difficult time. If possible, yourself and your husband should present the facts of the matter together. It is likely that your son will have questions, so be prepared to answer them. Don't tell him that he doesn't need to know something, or that he shouldn't worry himself about things. The fact of the matter is that he wants to know and he'll worry anyway, so helping him towards understanding his new reality is key to helping him come to terms with it.

Your son will probably have some questions that only your husband can answer, such as how your husband feels about facing death and if there is anything that your husband particularly wants to do with his time left. Allow your husband and son time to talk about these matters. Try not to feel as though you are being shut out or that they are keeping secrets from you. No doubt your son will come to you for comfort and understanding in the future, so remember that you are a vital source of strength and support for him as well.

Regardless of their ages, many children feel an intense pressure when they find out that a parent is terminally ill. They may feel that they need to be perfect in order to make their parents' last days/weeks/months as nice as possible. They may feel guilty, that if only they had done something or not done something then their parents would not be ill. They may feel frightened, and ashamed of feeling frightened when they know that their parents are feeling even worse. Make it clear to your son that it is normal to feel many mixed emotions about this topic, and that you are willing to talk about any of them with him.

It may be that your son finds it hard to open up to you or your husband. If this is the case, offer alternative adults with whom he can discuss the situation. Members of the clergy, teachers, coaches, relatives and mental health professionals are all excellent options to help teens cope with the news of terminal illness in their families.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
I I am terminally ill and now very close to death. I am having great difficulty in making aarrangement for muslim funeral locally. Can someone advise or give local contactfor TThatcham, Berkshire?
Asif - 13-Aug-16 @ 4:56 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • James
    Re: Inheriting Property
    My great uncle left me a property a few years back. As my aunty outlived him he made it clear that she can live out her days in said property.…
    23 July 2017
  • Sherbear
    Re: Coping with Multiple Deaths
    I'm not sure what to say but I can relate to a lot of your posts to some level. Within 3 years, I lost a friend, 3 aunts ( two…
    23 July 2017
  • dorothy
    Re: How Grief Affects Your Relationships
    He seems so perfect, but doing a lot behind you, true love and a honest man is given by grace,my husband has been doing…
    21 July 2017
  • Jo.b
    Re: Inheriting Property
    Hi there. My husband and his mum inherited 25% share each of his grandparents house when his grandad passed away 8 years ago. His grandmother…
    20 July 2017
  • katy
    Re: Coping With Other People's Grief
    sorrow can't last forever,i believe in that when i met the lord through a great soul Sharon,it happens that i had a very…
    20 July 2017
  • Donna
    Re: Dealing With Inheritance Tax
    After finding no will when our father died she just wtook over with everything I had no say in anything she got probate and as she…
    17 July 2017
  • marisol27
    Re: How Grief Affects Your Relationships
    sorrow can't last forever,i believe in that when i met the lord through a great soul Sharon,it happens that i had a very…
    17 July 2017
  • Nana
    Re: The Rights to Obtain a Headstone?
    My grandchild died and I can't get my daughter to start a gravemarker for her, if they refuse to do this, can I with out…
    17 July 2017
  • Donna
    Re: What if There is No Will?
    My father died unexpectedly last year leaving no will to his house my sister who I haven't spoke to in 10years notified me by text…
    16 July 2017
  • Marie
    Re: Inheriting Property
    My dad passed away last year .in his will he left the house to my brother to live in as long as he'd like .but if he sells it or passes any it…
    15 July 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the FacingBereavement website. Please read our Disclaimer.