Coping with your parent's cancer: tips and information

Main Banner

There are lots of ‘coping strategies’ you can try that might help you feel more relaxed and in control. Different things work for different people.

Keep trying until you find the thing that helps you feel better.


Things you can try

  • Talk to someone. Expressing how you are feeling is better than bottling it all up.

  • Get all the information you can, so you know what’s happening to your mum or dad and what to expect and feel more in control.

  • Take a break. Go out with your friends, laugh and forget about things for a while.

  • Whenever possible, keep doing the things you love doing – playing sport, hanging out with friends, listening to music.

  • Get organised, especially if you have taken on extra roles. Things like a weekly planner and a to-do list can really make things more manageable (and no, it’s not a lame thing to do).

  • Offload some of the things that you have to do – ask for help. This can be really hard but is important. See Where to get help.

  • Write stuff down. Write a journal, a blog, letters, songs or poems. Keep them to yourself, or share them with other young people in the Canteen Community.

  • Exercise. Go for a walk or a run, or to a yoga class. Meet some mates and kick the footy around. Exercise can release ‘feel good’ hormones in your body.

  • Find ways to have a laugh. Watch a funny movie.

  • Find a special place. Go fishing, ride your bike, browse the shops, stare at clouds.

  • Meditate. Try to focus only on your breath for about 15 minutes.

Get help

If you feel like it’s all out of control and you’re not coping, talk to someone – a member of your parent’s treatment team (there should be a psychologist or social worker), or a Canteen counsellor.

Collapsible field
You're not alone
Chat with people who get you. Get time out at our fun events. Talk to a counsellor (it’s free!).