Mum lies to 9-year-old son that he has cancer
A mother lied to her 9-year-old son that he has cancer in an elaborate plan to scam people of their money. Also read about how to tell your kid that he's suffering from a critical illness.
I can’t imagine the upheaval parents go through when the doctor informs them about their child’s critical illness.
Parents even shudder just with the thought that their child could ever suffer a life threatening disease and may not survive for too long. News like that can tear apart any parent and they would need every ounce of courage to keep them stable.
In a similar event, a New Jersey mum of four, Susan Stillwaggon told friends, family including her young 9-year-old son that he had cancer and was dying.
With the sympathy which the news created, she then watched the community rally round to raise funds for her son’s treatment. The town was holding fundraisers for the boy, who is in elementary school, by baking cupcakes, selling bracelets, and having bingo nights.
The fact was that she was just pretending that her child had cancer and tried to cash in non-existent medical expenses, with the sympathy neighbours had for the boy.
The mum reportedly told people that her son had a form of lymphoma, a deadly cancer, and a neighbour said that the mum was going around saying her son had colon cancer.
The truth came to light after police got an anonymous tip and also a call from the boy’s school, which also suspected that his sickness wasn’t real.
“Stillwaggon led her son to believe that he suffered from the fatal illness,” the Pennsauken Township Police Department said in a news release.
“Investigation confirmed that the boy does not suffer from any life-threatening illnesses.”
It’s bad enough to use cancer to try and get sympathy and collect money — but to convince your own child he has cancer! How dreadful is that?
He probably knew enough about cancer to know that it could kill him. He was probably scared. “He must be very confused,” said a neighbour Stillwaggon is being charged with fraud and endangering the welfare of a child.
But what happens to the young boy? It is definitely emotionally draining for him. Is he ever going to be able to trust people he knew? How can a mum put her son through such fear and worry?
It is dreadful enough to tell your child that he is not going to live long enough. But if you are caught up in a situation where your son or daughter is diagnosed with a serious illness, here is how you should discuss the matter with them.
• Maintain normalcy
If you let your guard down, you will not be in a position to console your child. So speak with patience and courage lest your child might breakdown on hearing the news.
• Dealing with reactions
Parents should gauge the child’s reaction and be prepared to deal with a range of emotions. The child may stop talking or become argumentative, depressed or angry. Give them some time to absorb the truth.
• Communication is key
Speak out the matter in terms of the child’s developmental stage, and use simple language. Keep them informed about the symptoms, treatment and side effects from the treatment, such as nausea or fatigue. It is better they know in advance what challenges they will have to face as the sickness advances.
• Comfort the child
Reassure your child that as parents you are trying your best that nothing will ever happen to him or her.
• Clear doubts
Stress the point that the sickness is not your child’s fault and they should not feel guilty about it. Inform them that the sickness is not of a contagious nature. It might be better for adolescents to talk to an adult other than a parent, such as their paediatrician.
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