Tell your child about a serious illness

Guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics
Pediatricians say attitudes have changed, and you should be open and honest with your child
Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 6:14 AM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - How does a parent talk with their child when the child is diagnosed with a serious illness? If you don’t know what to do, health experts have advice.

This guidance comes from the American Academy of Pediatrics. It’s addressing ethical concerns when it comes to withholding information from your child when they’re diagnosed with something serious.

Cutting to the chase, it recommends you be open with your child about it.

This new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics looks at how doctors and families should approach this. APP says historically attitudes towards talking to kids about their own diagnosis have changed.

Health experts say some parents may want to shield their child from difficult or stressful information, but APP says by communicating with your child as openly as possible you are avoiding mistrust and allowing them to take an active role in their care.

It all, of course, depends on how mature your child is and their age.

The report suggests pediatricians give families options for how to approaching talking with their child every step of the way.

The report is specific to also say it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You and your child’s doctor can take it one step at a time.

The hope is that the child feels empowered and included in what’s happening to them so they don’t feel anxious or isolated.