Dr. Stanley Goldstein - Author and Psychologist

A Psychologist's Thoughts on Clinical Practice, Behavior, and Life

The Problem That Children Suffering With Cancer Have With Friendships

May 7, 2018

Tags: children, cancer, friendships

The Problem That Children Suffering With Cancer Have With Friendships

Experiencing cancer is difficult at any age but is particularly difficult for children. So much of how children relate depends on appearance, that a potential friend seems like them, and some medical treatments impact how one looks. Even to the degree that a child can look scary.
One study found that leukemia survivors between seven and twelve years of age, as contrasted with healthy children, were and felt themselves to be, more socially isolated. They were less often chosen as best friends and had fewer confidants. Upon reaching adulthood they tended to have briefer and less intimate friendships.
These difficulties are not inevitable. Educating children about relationships and how to cope with their anxiety can make a big difference. And after experiencing a medical crisis they may be encouraged, though still a child, to think more deeply about the human experience and become a more empathetic adult.