Emotions Your Child May Feel

Children have the potential to feel a variety of emotions when you are diagnosed with breast cancer. The realm of emotions greatly depends on your child's personality, age and your personal situation. Two very common emotions include:

Other emotions that children, teens and young adults often feel include:




Anger can also take on many forms: anger at you for getting cancer, anger at the cancer for attacking you, anger at what this event is doing to their life now and what it might do to them in the future. Since anger is a normal response for you too, they may sense or see your anger and frustration.


Often the anger is misplaced. They are angry at what this event is doing to their life and take it out on you or other family members. Sometimes children act out and become more demanding and unruly. They may do less well in school or do things they would not do otherwise. There may be more conflict between siblings. We always teach children to be fair. They expect life To be fair. This may be their first exposure to the unfairness in life, and they respond with anger.




Because you may cry often when you are holding your young children, they may think they are causing you to be sad. Acknowledge that you are sad because of your illness, but be sure they understand that they did not make you sad.


Occasionally older children will share in your sadness or grief and openly cry with you, but often they do not. Some will try to be cheerful when around you, but express their sadness/grief when they are alone or with friends. Others will not appear to express any sadness or emotion; for them the whole ordeal is too overwhelming and they will appear to ignore it.


Isolation and Separation


You and you spouse or other support person need to and will spend time together to work out your feelings and provide mutual support. Your children may feel left out. Your children may also feel isolated because other kids avoid them, either because they are afraid of the concept of cancer or because they think they might catch it. Small children may experience separation from you. These feelings of isolation become realities when you go to the hospital, and again each day that you have radiation treatments or chemotherapy.