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Communicating with Children When a Parent is at the End of Life

Communicating with Children When a Parent is at the End of Life

Rachel Fearnley

Paperback: £21.99 / $32.95

2012, 234mm x 156mm / 9.25in x 6in, 192pp
ISBN: 978-1-84905-234-4, BIC 2: JKSN JKSN2 MQC

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When a parent is nearing the end of life, children can feel like their world has been turned upside down, and they are often scared and confused about what is happening. Sensitive and clear communication with children is vital to help them understand and cope with their parent's illness.

This accessible book demonstrates how to support children through effective and sensitive communication, covering types of communication, language, information sharing, and overcoming common barriers. Developing confidence and skills such as talking, listening, giving children a voice and breaking bad news is also covered. The author outlines the concept of a 'communication continuum' which can be used to assess how much a child knows or understands about their parent's illness and how much they would like to know. The book contains a wealth of practical strategies and ideas, as well as case vignettes, practice tips and reflective exercises.

This is an essential resource for anyone working with or supporting a child whose parent is at the end of life, including palliative care workers, nurses, social workers, teachers and counsellors.

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In every Bereavement and Loss workshop that I have facilitated over the years, regardless of the role of the participant, the question of universal interest seems to be  ‘what do we say when we don’t know what to say?’ Everyone it seems is afraid of saying the wrong thing, and the more tragic the loss the greater...

Supporting children when a parent is at the end of life – An Interview with Rachel Fearnley

1 March 2012

"The news that a parent has a terminal illness generally presents the family with a huge crisis. Everything about family life is catapulted into a maelstrom, routines change and nothing appears to be predictable anymore. If children are not included in conversations about their parent’s illness and possible imminent death they are going to witness all the changes without having any ‘concrete’ knowledge to use as a marker. They will be aware of the changes and know that something is very different but will not be able to form a consistent narrative. As a result they are in danger of piecing together the information they have gleaned and making erroneous conclusions."