8. Communicating with Children: Their Understanding, Information Needs, and Processes

  1. Shulamith Kreitler3,4,5,
  2. Myriam Weyl Ben-Arush6,7 and
  3. Andrés Martin8,9
  1. M. Louise Webster1 and
  2. Jane E. Skeen2

Published Online: 1 JUL 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781119941033.ch8

Pediatric Psycho-Oncology: Psychosocial Aspects and Clinical Interventions, Second Edition

Pediatric Psycho-Oncology: Psychosocial Aspects and Clinical Interventions, Second Edition

How to Cite

Webster, M. L. and Skeen, J. E. (2012) Communicating with Children: Their Understanding, Information Needs, and Processes, in Pediatric Psycho-Oncology: Psychosocial Aspects and Clinical Interventions, Second Edition (eds S. Kreitler, M. W. Ben-Arush and A. Martin), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781119941033.ch8

Editor Information

  1. 3

    School of Psychological Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Israel

  2. 4

    Psychooncology Research Center, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel

  3. 5

    Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences, University of Haifa, Israel

  4. 6

    Department of Pediatric Hematology Oncology, Meyer Children's Hospital, Israel

  5. 7

    Meyer Children's Hospital, Rambam Health Care Campus, Technion Israel-Institute of Technology, the Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Haifa, Israel

  6. 8

    Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine, USA

  7. 9

    Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven, New Haven, CT, USA

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department Psychological Medicine, University of Auckland, Pediatric Consultation Liaison Psychiatry Team, Starship Children's Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand

  2. 2

    Starship Blood and Cancer Centre, Starship Children's Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 JUL 2012
  2. Published Print: 27 JUL 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781119998839

Online ISBN: 9781119941033

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Keywords:

  • adolescents;
  • cancer;
  • children;
  • communication;
  • death;
  • listening;
  • psychological;
  • understanding

Summary

For children and adolescents with cancer, psychological and emotional wellbeing is linked to the amount of good information about their illness and treatment that has been given to them by their parents and health care professionals. This chapter will review the evidence base for a practice of being open and honest with children about cancer, the factors that make it hard for parents to talk to their children about serious matters, children's understanding of illness and of death, and child and family preference regarding how information is given. Practical strategies in speaking with children will be discussed. In approaching communication about serious illness with children, we need to include the important people in the child's world – their parents, siblings, extended family, and often friends and classmates.