No energy, attention to give to children?

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Question from Franco's Mom: I'm going through chemotherapy and the fatigue makes it a struggle to always be there for my children. My 10-year-old son is going through a hard time in his math class right now. I don't have the energy to help him or give him attention. What can I do?
Answers - Tamara Shulman, Ph.D., FAACP It's a healthy sign that your son is worrying about math and wanting to do well in his math class! One way to deal with the natural fatigue that comes with chemotherapy is to think of a good support system for the child which in this case might be concrete help in math from a family member or friend or a student from the local high school who can be energetic and enthusiastic about math. What you can offer Franco is your support and interest in his progress in math and his accomplishments, to let him know you're glad he's trying so hard and asking him perhaps to show you when he's completed a set of problems. That way, you can be supportive of his work in math without having to be the hands-on person who's actually helping him master the material.
Paula K. Rauch, M.D. One of the signs of a good parent is getting help. None of us can support every part of our child's healthy development, and some of us may be able to manage grade school math but not junior high or high school math. It's important to see if there's someone in your support system who can help you think about which of the caring adults in your life and the life of your child can be helpful with different particular challenges that you're facing as a family. We sometimes talk about the person who organizes the different ways that friends can be helpful as a "Captain of Kindnesses." That person can be someone to whom you can say, "Gee, it would be great if there was someone to help my son with math" and there may be a friend or a friend's kid who might sit with your child at a helpful website that can assist with math, for instance. It's just one example of the people and practical resources that brainstorming in a community can provide.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Talking With Kids about Breast Cancer featured Paula Rauch, M.D. and Tamara Shulman, Ph.D., F.A.A.C.P. answering your questions about specific ways to support your kids while you undergo treatment, and different communication strategies for helping your kids to feel secure during a time of uncertainty.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in May 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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