Helping Kids Cope with a Parent’s Illness

Dear Mr. Dad: Though my husband is only in his early forties, he recently suffered a heart attack. He’s back home now and the prognosis is good, but our children, ages 9 and 11, saw everything and are very worried about him. How do we reassure them that Dad is fine?

A: Witnessing a parent’s illness (mental or physical), or a sudden medical emergency can indeed be very troubling to a youngster—and plenty upsetting to a spouse as well). It’s even more disturbing if the kids saw paramedics performing CPR or taking away their father in an ambulance.

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