Supporting your teen’s privacy and independence
During transplant, teens give up privacy and independence. Here are ways you can help them feel a sense of control:
- Answer your teen’s questions honestly.
- Include your teen when talking with the transplant team.
- Encourage your teen to be involved in decisions as much as possible.
- Give your teen time and space to talk about their feelings and concerns.
- Respect your teen’s privacy. Offer private time. Make a plan together for how to update family and friends about your teen’s health and recovery.
- Support and encourage your teen to be responsible for self-care. For example, your teen may be able to help care for a central line or help organize their medicines.
Helping your teen stay connected to friends and activities
Teens want to think and act for themselves, but they also want to feel normal. To support them, you can encourage your teen to:
- Stay involved in schoolwork. Encourage your teen to talk to you about any challenges they face.
- Stay in touch with friends through visits (if possible), phone calls, email and websites like those you can set up on CaringBridge®.
- Stay involved in activities and hobbies that they enjoy and develop new interests. Transplant center staff can offer ideas to help your teen be creative in staying connected to interests while in the hospital.
- Plan for life after transplant. Help your teen think about short-term goals, such as going back to school, and long-term goals for the future.
- Find creative ways to deal with changes in body and appearance to help keep a positive self-image. If your teen has hair loss, choices of hats, scarves, wigs or going bareheaded can be opportunities for self-expression.
Protecting your teen’s fertility
Chemotherapy and radiation can affect your teen’s fertility (ability to have children). While most teens aren’t thinking about becoming parents, planning ahead may give them an option later in life. Read more about fertility and transplant.