How can parents keep happiness as a priority?
- Find something to laugh about even in the midst of the crisis. Humor goes along way to easing tension and fear.
- Express love frequently and reassurance often. Children need to know that an illness is no fault of their own and that no one is angry at them for being ill. They also need to know that just because they are ill it is not a free ride to being rude, thoughtless, or irresponsible. This is particularly important for teens to understand.
- Simple rewards are a fun way to treat both the child who is ill and the siblings for a rough day or an unpleasant treatment. Movies, game nights, or any little special reward help to restore happiness and hope after a stressful experience and can keep tension down and family time a priority.
- Keep to family traditions or start new ones to keep everyone in the family connected during those times when you feel disconnected due to the current crisis. Bedtime stories, phone calls, or special meals give everyone in the family something to look forward to when treatments seem overwhelming.
- Leave happy notes in book bags or lunch boxes. Siblings can write notes to each other, parents can write notes to kids, husbands can leave notes for wives, pets can leave secret notes to kids leaving a trail of encouragement and affection for the recipients.
Happiness can be found in the middle of a crisis when you keep love at the center of what ever you are dealing with. It is important to show children how to find this kind of happiness and to teach them the skills to deal with the rougher side of life. I have learned these skills myself from my parents and grandparents and it is a joy to pass them on to my own children.
As my grandmother always used to say, "No matter what, keep laughing"