Children are distant and unsupportive?

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Question from Vele: Every time I bring up the words "breast cancer," my children get angry and they say, "There she goes talking about the breast cancer, now she's going to cry." I feel like I have no support emotionally from my sons, who are 12 and 14. I feel my kids are distant, because they are afraid they are going to lose me. Any advice on how to show them that I am crazy about them?
Answers - Lidia Schapira Sounds to me as though you're proving our point that cancer really affects the whole family. Your example illustrates how a mom's cancer really impacts the emotional health of two adolescent boys. Talk openly, but remember that boys of this age may not want to talk about feelings. Respect the boundaries that they set for you, and express your love for them in ways that they understand. They may not be able to support you emotionally in the way that you want, however they may be crazy about you, and just feel awkward that they have to talk about the illness. The best conversations with youths happen spontaneously when you are working side by side, perhaps working in the garden, or driving somewhere. Be spontaneous and not overly emotional in how you show your love for them, and they may reciprocate.

Editor's Note: Read more about talking to your kids about breast cancer.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Coping With Your Changing Feelings and Relationships featured Lidia Schapira, M.D. and moderator Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. answering your questions about facing your fears head-on, handling moodiness and depression, diffusing tension with your partner and feeling close without sexual activity, as well as issues of self-image and femininity.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in March 2006.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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