Ex-wife's cancer causing son to be clingy?

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Question from Jazzfan: My son has become really clingy since my ex-wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. We share custody, and he's saying he doesn't want to go back to her house when his weeks with me end. I want to do what's best for him and for my ex, but I just don't know what that is. Any advice?
Answers - Paula K. Rauch, M.D. This is hard to answer without knowing more about your son's age and the issues surrounding his moving back and forth from home to home. If the transition of going from house to house was proceeding pretty easily and calmly prior to your ex-wife's diagnosis, it is reasonable to wonder whether the likely additional stress and distress in the house is being picked up by your son. If the environment at his mother's house continues to be calm and loving, it is important to support the continuing custody and living arrangements. If you and your child's mother are able to co-parent around this difficult issue, it would be great if you could brainstorm together about what he may be reacting to. For many divorced couples, this just doesn't feel possible to do without additional professional support. If that's the case, I would encourage you to seek help in order to support your son and his relationship with both his parents during this difficult time.

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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