When a Child Is Diagnosed: A Psychologist's Advice

GOODHEART: I think that probably the only mistake you can make is lying to the child, and not advocating for the child.

Because children are not adults, they cannot advocate for themselves. They need the best treatment possible. If they're dying, they need the best palliative care. They need to be made comfortable. The role of a parent is to do that yourself or, if you're unable to do it, to find someone to do that.

ABC NEWS: Do families ever emerge stronger from an experience like this?

GOODHEART: Absolutely. People often say to a mother or father, I don't know how you do this, I couldn't do it. The truth is, you don't have a choice and you do it the best you can. There's no blueprint for how to go through this. Often, people not only survive, but they thrive. And that's an important message because, yes, some children die of cancer. But some children live, and the families go on.

ABC NEWS: What happened with your granddaughter?

GOODHEART: She was treated many years ago, and although she does have continuing medical problems because of the treatments, she is a healthy, active child growing up now.

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