- Question from Maggie J: I've heard about others videotaping their feelings and wishes for their children. Do you think that this is a good idea for the future?
- Answers - Paula K. Rauch, M.D. I hope that you will be around for a long time to tell your children all the things that you love about them. But for moms who may not be, what we learned from interviewing adults who had a parent die of cancer when they were 12 or younger is that they wish they had a communication—usually they spoke of letters—where the parents expressed both what they saw that was special in the child and what they loved best about parenting that child. Many parents that I've worked with over the years find talking into a video camera hard to do, whereas writing a letter is a bit easier, and videotaping family events is easier as well. Sometimes in the context of a family event—Thanksgiving, a child's birthday—you can ask the people assembled to answer those questions: what is special in each of the children, and what you love best about parenting him/her. Or, with no script at all, just provide the video or DVD record of those happy family events.
- Tamara Shulman, Ph.D., FAACP I've known parents who have left letters to be opened at milestones in the child's life—graduations, weddings. That way they can leave for children who may be too young now to understand, something that can be understood later on. I think the parents who have done this have described it as a valuable emotional experience for them, and while I have no way of knowing how the child feels when getting these letters later in life, a thoughtful letter from a parent who is no longer with them might well be something that would be treasured.
- Paula K. Rauch, M.D. Even if the parent is alive and well when the child reads such a letter, my guess is that it would still be wonderful and special.
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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