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: 24 Oct 2017 | 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 purchased a headstone for my father last yr. The cemetery grounds keeper/Manager broke it and installed it broken anyways. They offered zero compensation nor did they refund me the 700 they charged me to install it. I had to file a small claims suit in which the judge awarded me monetary damages. Upon the verdict the ALL of the grass on my fathers plot was cut and removed out of spite. They sent the court ordered check but also included a letter stating upon receiving this check you agree to the following: 1.The headstone and all of its components are now property of THEIRS. 2.The installer on the replacement headstone must be lic. insured and bonded and give 3 days notice (which is standard practice) 3. As a ALONE WOMAN you cannot walk around the cemetery in sections other than the ones you own a plot in. and the list continues. I hired an installer and the cemetery manager scared him off so I had to hire installer #2. The cemetery manager called him too and told him I sued them in court. He proceeded to tell him that the judge made a mistake and is sending him documents stating he is the new owner of the headstone(not true) This installer is not going to be scared off like installer #1 was.However he refuses to allow him to drill and pin the granite vases which prevents theft and refuses to allow him to drill into the base and install the rods that permanently attach the base to the foundation because again, he states their his property. The installer now refuses to do anything with the headstone other than pour the cement and put the headstone back in place. My questions are, is this enough for a retaliation case, can he dictate what I can and cannot do to the headstone I own? Can he discuss our small claimslawsuit with my installer without my permission and lie about the facts?
Daddys Girl - 24-Oct-17 @ 2:14 AM
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
  • Only son
    Re: Executing a Will
    Dad died leaving me 1/2 house in will. Other 1/2 and &80k to Mum. But solicitor making wills 10 years ago did not change house deeds from joint…
    17 November 2019
  • Tiddles
    Re: The Rights to Obtain a Headstone?
    Can my client put a grave stone on her sons grave or even can her grandson do it as it was his dad
    15 November 2019
  • Edy
    Re: The Rights to Obtain a Headstone?
    My brother paased away 2 years ago and his live in girlfriend handled the funeral. She never paid for the funeral or the…
    14 November 2019
  • Suzi
    Re: Questionnaire: Do You Need Bereavement Counselling?
    My father has only recently passed away. I did get the chance to see him before, but for the last 3…
    9 November 2019
  • Joe Joe
    Re: Dealing With Inheritance Tax
    Hello I am concerned about my uncle who is 91 years old. I need help finding out if my sister who does not live with him and I…
    28 October 2019
  • Gav
    Re: Coping with Multiple Deaths
    Hi, I think I need help, since one of my best friends commited suicide 3 years ago, I have lost a further 11 friends and family…
    27 October 2019
  • Mack
    Re: Purchasing a Burial Plot
    My wife bought a cemetery plot,she went to the cemetery last week,and another person had been buried in the plot...is this illegal
    22 October 2019
  • Confused
    Re: Inheriting Property
    My mother who is still alive put my sisters nane on her house. She has said she is giving her the house because my sister has never left the…
    21 October 2019
  • MPS
    Re: Bereavement Payment
    I cremated my son who was 37 I am 58 and I am on sick and my work company dose not pay sick pay can I apply for breavement pay
    21 October 2019
  • Miller
    Re: What if There is No Will?
    My father as died leaving me his house and all belongings, thers only me his daughter im an only child, my dad did not make a will so…
    16 October 2019