When Sickness Strikes the Family–
Children are the most affected when sickness hits the family, especially emotionally.It is important that parents help the children to understand the needs that have arisen and what they may do to help.
Form a closer bond - If the one who has become ill is a child, the siblings must be helped to understand that the extra attention and care the sick one is receiving does not mean that the other children are loved any less. Rather than allow resentment or rivalry to develop, parents can help the other children form a closer bond with one another and have genuine affection as they cooperate in handling the situation caused by the sickness.
Appeal to their feelings - Young children will usually respond more readily if parents appeal to their feelings rather than to lengthy or complicated explanations about medical conditions. So they could be given some idea of what the sick family member is going through but most importantly to understand the pain the sick member is feeling.
Develop a self-sacrificing spirit among siblings - Older children should be helped to realize that a difficult situation exists and it requires sacrifices on the part of everyone in the family. With doctors’ fees and medical bills to pay, it may not be possible for parents to provide for the other children as they would like to. Will the children resent this and feel that they are being deprived? Or will they understand the situation and be willing to make the needed sacrifices? Much depends on the way the matter is discussed and the spirit that is engendered in the family.
Could family members come together and discuss the situation caused by the sickness? It would certainly be appropriate to do so. What should be considered in such a discussion? Well, there are medical, financial, and family decisions to be made. Who will provide the primary care? How can the family cooperate to support that care? How will the arrangements made affect each member of the family? These require setting the family’s priorities straight.
We’ll discuss this next on this series.