Short & Long-Term Importance of Psychosocial Peer Support for Kids Facing a Parent's Cancer Diagnosis

Psychosocial Peer Support

When a parent is diagnosed with cancer, kids often feel alone. They may have difficulty discussing their feelings and emotions with other adults because they are scared that their parents will hear what they say. Talking about their feelings with friends is an easier option for some kids. Peer support can facilitate help for children facing cancer in the household.

Studies have found that psychosocial peer support programs can help children cope with these difficult circumstances in several ways.

Reducing Anxiety Levels

In the long run, psychosocial peer support helps reduce anxiety levels in children with a parent’s cancer diagnosis. These programs help children cope with their feelings about a parent's cancer diagnosis and understand their emotions. In addition, it’s essential for children to learn how to deal with the stress that comes from a family member diagnosed with cancer.

Decreasing Feelings of Isolation

It’s not unusual for kids to feel isolated when a parent has been diagnosed with cancer. They may feel that they’re the only one among their friends facing this situation. Feeling alone can cause them to isolate themselves further because they are concerned that no one else can understand what they’re experiencing. They may spend more time alone and become disconnected from friends and family. Peer support actively combats these painful and damaging feelings.

Creating a Supportive Environment

Peer support provides a vital service by connecting kids with peers who have been through similar experiences. It offers a safe space to talk about how they feel and express themselves without being judged or criticized by others who may not understand what they're going through.

In addition, peer support groups or activities provide emotional support by offering an opportunity for social interaction. For example, activities such as crafts or games allow participants to express themselves creatively while discussing their feelings openly.

Developing Coping Strategies

Peer support also plays an essential role that enables children to learn how to cope with their feelings and emotions in ways that aren't harmful to themselves or others. In sharing with their peers, they can learn new ways of coping with their emotions so they can heal and thrive during this difficult time in their lives.

Expanding Communication Skills

Peer support also is vital because many kids don't have a safe space  or the vocabulary  to talk about what they're going through. Peer support offers the context and experiences necessary to help them develop those skills.

Help Us Empower Kids With Parents Who Have Cancer

Kesem provides life-altering experiences for children dealing with a parent who has cancer. We offer year-round services, family resources, and our Camp Kesem summer camp program, that help children cope with their situation, develop resilience, create new friendships, and experience carefree moments of childlike joy.

Every day at Camp Kesem is an opportunity for campers to try something new and have fun - and while session schedules can look different from chapter to chapter, program highlights like Cabin Chat and Empowerment are meaningful Kesem staples that elevate the traditional summer camp experience.

Cabin Chat is a nightly, in-bunk Q&A discussion that helps start meaningful conversations among campers and counselors. Empowerment is an all-camp opportunity to come together and share more about their experiences at home and with their parent’s cancer. Both programs help children to find their voice and establish supportive relationships, transforming their journey with a parent’s cancer and its impact on their life.

Your generosity allows us to offer Camp Kesem and all other year-round services free of charge, so any child dealing with a parent’s cancer, regardless of their economic situation, can begin to heal.

There are so many ways to give. Donations help Kesem change lives! You can help by participating in fundraising; donating through planned giving, donor-advised funds, and stock donations; attending or sponsoring an event; or shopping at our store. With your support, we can ensure that more children and youth impacted by a parent’s cancer can feel joy, hope, and the magic that is Kesem.

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