Home busy with support frustrating kids?

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Question from Lorraine NY: Our house is like Grand Central Station since I had surgery. Friends call or come over for several hours during the day, etc. I need my friends' support but sometimes it almost seems like my children don't appreciate it. I would think they'd be glad Mom is getting some outside support, but maybe my kids are trying to tell me that they want to be the ones taking on this role? Please help me understand this; thanks.
Answers - Tamara Shulman, Ph.D., FAACP It can certainly feel busy with family and friends visiting. Part of the issue for children is that it's very disruptive of the family routine and children thrive on routine. They're giving you a strong message that they need things to quiet down for them. They may also need more family time to talk and relax with their parents when they're not surrounded by people. A nice way to handle this situation is to think in terms of scheduling the visits etc. in a way that's more manageable. Choosing one weekend day as a family day, and perhaps a couple of evenings during the week as family time, and making the kids aware of this, can be very helpful. Of course, if someone is coordinating things, they can let people know when company is welcome and when the family needs some close quiet family time.
Paula K. Rauch, M.D. It's very common for children to complain about the well-wishers and adult support that comes to the house. It's a sensitive issue of how to balance the mom's need for support from her friends along with a child's wish to have things feel more familiar, which includes having fewer guests in the house. Some families, as Dr. Shulman said, will have, for example, Sundays and Tuesdays as family-only days. Others will designate the hours from after school until bedtime as times when they encourage friends not to call so the focus then can really be on the children. It's hard for a child to recognize the kind of support that a parent needs when she's sick because they may be accustomed to their mom needing less support and being more available to them during all the years she was well.

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 Breastcancer.org. 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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