How to help a healthy toddler cope when their sibling has cancer?
November 12, 2016 5:07 PM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend. Twin 2 year olds. One was just diagnosed with leukemia and started chemo yesterday. Their twin is traumatized and feels neglected. Experience with this or a similar situation with young siblings? How to help?

What are some best practices for helping him cope, especially as a twin? Any other twin related advice for either one in such a situation? Thanks a ton.
posted by anya32 to Human Relations (5 answers total)
 
Ask the hospital social worker for child life resources. They have lots of stuff (books, activities, recommendations) for sick kids as well as their siblings.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 7:16 PM on November 12, 2016 [5 favorites]


Are there close relatives or very good friends who are local and can provide a safe place for the twin to be while mom and dad are with the sick child?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:54 PM on November 12, 2016


This is my experience in Australia. The hospital will assign a social worker to the family & the social worker can then refer and coordinate other services they need, like counselling. For little kid trauma like this I would want guidance from professionals. We also have charities like Red Kite who can provide support like counselling plus practical things like financial assistance.

I'm sorry your friends are dealing with this. If it's any comfort , childhood cancer survival rates are improving all the time and I think it's as high as 90% for acute lymphoblastic, so hopefully this will be a short period of high stress for the little sibling, and everyone.
posted by stellathon at 12:39 AM on November 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Jane Roper is a wonderful blogger/novelist in Massachusetts whose twin daughter had leukemia. I think she was a bit older at diagnosis (maybe 5?) and she has been in remission for several years, but if you look at the "childhood cancer" tag there's a lot about managing sibling/twin stuff around attention, etc.

Nthing helping the family seek out the hospital social workers/ child life specialists who will have lots of ideas and help.
posted by charmcityblues at 9:32 PM on November 13, 2016


Thank you all for these recommendations. My friend is grateful for the support during this difficult time.
posted by anya32 at 10:03 AM on November 15, 2016


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