When your brother or sister is diagnosed with cancer, EVERYONE in the family needs healing, including YOU! We know it is not an easy process as the changes and feelings that you might be experiencing can be quite hard to deal with. But you are not alone, and there are people who will understand and can help.Common Feelings Experienced By Siblings
You might feel guilty as you think that you have caused your sibling to have cancer by saying something mean to him/her. You might also feel guilty because you are unable to protect him/her whilst you are able to maintain your social life as a healthy child. REMEMBER: nothing that you think, feel, say or do will cause cancer.
You might feel lonely as you are home alone most of the time as your parents are spending more time with your sibling who has cancer. Your friends may also treat you differently because your brother or sister has cancer. They are worried that they might contract cancer or they do not know how to respond to your situation. REMEMBER: Things may get better. It may not always stay the way it is now.
You might feel angry with your parents or your sibling who has cancer. You feel angry because things seem to have changed since your sibling has cancer and you feel that it is his/ her fault. You feel angry that no one tells you about what is happening or ask you about your feelings. REMEMBER: Anger is a natural response to change, especially when you are unable to control the changes. Give your parents some time because they are also trying their best to manage the changes. It does not mean that you do not love your family anymore if you are angry. However, it is important to find healthy ways to release your frustrations and anger.
You might feel jealous as your sibling is getting all the attention after he/ she has cancer. Your parents may also be more lenient with him/her and you may feel that your parents are unfair. REMEMBER: It is ok to feel like this sometimes even though you might already understand why your sibling needs the attention. However, it does not mean that you are not a loving sister or brother if you feel this way.
You might feel scared as you think that your sibling may die from cancer or you might contract cancer too. REMEMBER: Cancer is not contagious – you cannot contract it like flu. You need to take medicine when you have flu. Similarly, your brother or sister needs to be on medication during their fight with cancer. It does not mean that just because your sibling has cancer, they would die. It depends on their prognosis and response to the treatment.
It might help if you share your worries with someone you trust or be updated with your sibling's cancer treatment and progress.
There are no good or bad emotions. If you experienced any of these emotions, remember that it is normal and everyone has them.
Most siblings experience these feelings when their brother or sister is diagnosed with cancer. These feelings come about when they experience changes in their lives after their siblings fall sick.
Sometimes, you may not know how to deal with these feelings. Keeping these feelings to yourself may not be helpful. You might feel better if you share them with someone you trust. It could be your parents, friends, teachers, school counsellor; or you can simply jot it down in a journal book.Change in routines and responsibilities
Your family may experience a lot of changes after your sibling is diagnosed with cancer. You, as part of the family, will be experiencing some of these changes as well.
Do these scenarios describe what is happening to you? Many other siblings experience these changes when their sibling is diagnosed with cancer. Be prepared that these changes may happen to you too.How to be supportive?
Listen.You may not have the solution to their problems. But by lending them a listening ear, you can be of a good support to your sibling/ parents.
Help ease your parents' stress by taking good care of yourself at home and at school. Be open with your feelings to help them understand what you are going through.
Keep in touch with your sibling through emails, sms, msn or webcam when they have to be warded. Continue to do things and activities that both of you enjoyed previously.5 Special things to remember
Here are some useful websites which you can visit: