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Picture of Topic Friends and family


Topic Friends and family

For anyone supporting someone else with cancer

  • 156 conversations

Advice and support for 16 year olds

Started by Anonymous on 21 June 2017 at 19:08

Hello everyone, 

First time poster so hope this is the right place to ask this question.

Actual question = Does anyone have advice for who can help access counselling/support for 16 year old living with a parent with terminal cancer? 

Read on for full detail / background!

I am helping my friend Stacey who was diagnosed with stage IV terminal stomach cancer in Nov 16. At the time we were told life expectancy was 12 weeks and no treatment available. Stacey was 36 yr old at the time and has three children - 16, 12 and 10. We were fortunate that Christies were willing to try chemo (told initially this wouldnt be an option because of spread) and happy to report Stacey is doing well 7 mths on and just ended her first six sessions although continuing with S1 tablets. 

We had a McMillan nurse assigned but we only met her once back in December so sometimes feel a bit lost and have been relying on google mainly (Christies, hospice and GP have been great for medical but feel we have some gaps in support still). 

We have access to counselling for Stacey - Maggies, hospice - and for the youngest children - local support for young children under 13. But we have yet to find anyone who can tell us where to go for her eldest child (K). K has been struggling since the diagnosis and is acting out of character (staying out late, shouting, refusing to talk about the diagnosis with anyone and being challenging with Stacey). I am hoping someone may be able to share their experience and make suggestion e.g. can we ask for help from GP or council? should we just go private? Is there something else we should be doing. Although K may not want to engage with counselling 1 to 1 we wondered if we could get some access to supporting her and Stacey to talk about it openly - at the moment just descends quickly into an argument and stressing them both out. 

All help/advice appreciated - thank you 

Comments (1)

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  • Picture of SusieQ
    From SusieQ  
    22 June 2017 at 09:34
    Edited on: 22 June 2017 at 09:37


    This sounds a painful and challenging time emotionally for all of you - and you sound a good friend to Stacey. It's good that you and she have accessed support for the rest of the family, although like you, I feel for K in all this.

    16 years old can feel a sort of limbo land. Almost adult, but still having moments of vulnerability mixed with the urge to be independent. As she is the eldest child, she may be feeling a greater sense of responsibility, and also be feeling very angry about the situation in general. Trying to articulate the mixed up emotions she's feeling can be difficult at the best of times - and she may not be able to pinpoint what exactly her rage is about.

    She may be interested in a couple of online resources - riprap, in particular, which offers support for teenagers who have a parent with cancer. She could message in for independent email support, as well as read up and contribute to the stories, forums and advice sections. Riprap also has a list of support in your local area here. There's also an American website, Group Loop, for teens touched by cancer - and CanTeen, an australian website for youngsters, aged 12 - 25.

    It might be worth Stacey getting in touch with her Macmillan Nurse again to ask about any counselling support for families and teenagers at the local hospice - and her GP may be able to suggest access to specific counselling services available locally. Also, perhaps talking with our team at Maggie's Manchester - who may have support for teenagers, or be able to advise who is available to refer to in the Manchester area. They may also be able to set up some sort of facilitation for Stacey and the family? If she is at college or school, there may also be pastoral support for K, as she goes through this.

    In a sense, there sounds to be a combination of the normal rebellious, pushing boundaries, teenage behaviour...added into a family situation where the future for everyone may be feeling unsettled and insecure...

    What I hear above it all, is the heartfelt wish to help your friend and her family get through uncharted territory, and I hope you're able to find the support K needs.

    You're very welcome to message Robyn or myself anytime too....I'll message you to introduce myself.

    Warm wishes





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