Support and Encourage Your Child
Be aware of the psychological outcome eye removal and other cancer therapies can have on young children.
Psychological adaptation to eye removal surgery in early childhood is generally considered good. Still, many children have concerns about their appearance, or about handling the eye.
Many children have chemotherapy to save sight, or because pathology of their removed eye showed a high risk for recurrence. They may have a concern about hair oss, and dealing with peers’ responses to this.
Children may struggle with the side effects of treatment, isolation from friends and familiarity, the emotional trauma of repeated procedures and hospitalizations. These experiences may impact their interaction with the regular world, during treatment and for many years after therapy ends.
You can do much to support and encourage your child through treatment and beyond.
Encourage Your Child
Throughout your child’s life, provide positive, supportive and encouraging words of praise about all of his abilities, interests and experiences. This will help build his self-esteem, give him confidence about himself and confidence to try new things.
Let him know how proud you are of all his little successes, and how proud you are when he copes with negative experiences too. Talking to your child about his strengths and abilities is important all the time, not just when he is facing other people’s comments or insensitive actions.
When your child is unsuccessful at something, or has a negative experience, be there to support him. Help him to cope, grow and learn from that experience. Protecting your child from all negative experiences does not give him a chance to learn resilience.
Know Your Child’s Feelings
Talk to your child. Listen, and hear what he has to say about his experiences. Be compassionate and understanding with him. If he is upset or uncomfortable about something, ask him what he thinks he needs to help him feel better.
Seek Extra Help
Some children experience great distress and even depression about how others perceive them and their differences. If you are concerned, or you don’t feel comfortable or capable supporting your child yourself, please seek help.
You can ask for assistance from a child life specialist, social worker, your family doctor, a psychologist or psychiatrist. Even if the person you ask is unable to help you directly, they will be able to refer you to a professional who can help your child cope better.