How do you tell your teen her mom doesn't have long to live?

Just be straight up. She needs to spend as much time with her as she can. Otherwise she will regret it after her mom passes.

There’s no easy way but to be honest. That way she has time to go through the grief process and say her proper goodbyes.

You should of told her years ago that’s really messed up.

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Tell her everything! My father died from cancer and I had not a clue about the illness and that he would die. “All of a sudden” my father was gone, I was not even allowed to give him a kiss. I’m still suffering after 37 years because of that denied chance to say good bye.

The sooner the better. Be honest and let her know that many times they are wrong. This may or may not be the case.

But to be there for the mom and child as much as possible. :blush:

I would be honest with the teen. Her mom’s condition should be explained to her as well and also she should be told what physical changes to expect. Give her an idea of how long her mom has and say it could be longer or shorter. She needs to be kept updated as to her mom’s treatment plans at the doctor.

You just do when my mum was sick she sat down and told us I was 18 my sister was 14 at the time its heartbreaking yes but you gotta be strong and do it cuz they would want to spend all there time with you sorry about your news xo

Have a family meeting and tell her what’s going on. This way she can process the information and then use the time she has left with her mother the best way she can

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I would ( I have cancer so we have been here) the longer they know the best they can d to make memories - don’t let her be oblivious- plus you have all that time together :smiling_face_with_three_hearts::heart: sending love and hugs

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My mom was told she had cancer and refused to say anything, my aunt and my dad told me that she was given 1 yr to live, that was 6yrs ago, she is still here but still going through things. Honestly it’s better to have everyone sit down and talk about it don’t hide it. My daughters father passed away on her 10th birthday due to drowning she was told that night and was upset but with family and friends she was able to continue on with his memory, we also found out that he had cancer but did not tell anyone not even his new wife. Honesty is best!

I would let them know whats going on and if they have any questions tell them … because my mom never told be about her having a blood clot between her lungs and one night on Halloween she passed away infront of me and it was hard for me since I was a mommy girl … so you see if better to tell them what’s going on so they can prepare them self cause when my mom passed away I lost it so just try to talk to them about your health and also you never know how long you have so make lots of memories

You be honest. And understand that they are more than likely going to struggle with coping and with grief. You educate yourself and understand that there are a variety of ways that they can show their grief and frustration. You make sure that they get a chance for quality time and last memories.

You’ve already kept it a secret 7 years. Tell her and be there when she crashes. She’s going to be mad, sad, hurt ect.

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My husband was sick when our youngest was born. She never knew him any other way. You just live life. Be honest. You can’t measure by diagnosis because you can die tomorrow from something else. Keep her informed and live your life…encourage her to live hers. The day my husband passed, I sent my twins on their previously planned softball tournament trip. He wanted them to go.

Tell her mom has___ and is really sick that the doctor said she has this long left but it could be more than that and just keep her informed and in the loop

You just do it as carefully lovingly as possible. And be there for her. Let her cry let her scream let her be in silence but just be there.

15 yrs ago the ex told his daughter he had 5 yrs left to live… she lost her mind… that was all she could think about… and was angry… shes had a hard time … fuckers still alive …although she may be the reason he keeps fighting … hopefully you will have support when you tell her … support for you both… make fabulous memories while you still can… my heart break for you both… good luck moma

While I understand the reasoning behind NOT telling her, this strategy has so many downsides…

1- When her mom unfortunately passes, your daughter WILL find out that you knew and didn’t tell her. Please don’t add unnecessary resentment towards you to the grief she’ll already be going through.

2- Pretty sure everyone else will be aware of this info and will actively participate in the cover-up. That’s really not fair to the rest of the family.

3- At 16, parents and children butt heads all the time. You wouldn’t want her last words said to her mom to be something she’d regret. Knowing she’s on borrowed time means she’ll be more considerate and understanding.

4- I am so very sorry that your family is going through these very difficult times :pensive: I wish you beautiful moments and memories that last many lifetimes

It depends on if OP is mom or dad if its dad thats something he should be there for but mom truly needs to be the one to say it and say that the drs are saying its 3 yrs but it could be more or less mom is just sick and you wanted your kid to know

Id say prepare her for loss any time, but dont put a time stamp on it, you just never know and shell be grieving for years before it happens :frowning:

Don’t. Just let her enjoy the rest with out havin to count down the years with you. Make them fun and loving for all of you. Tell her after she passes.

No one told me my grandfather was dying. I was shattered. Crushed. And still have resentment to this day… that all of these people knew he was dying for the good part of a year. The doctors called in family days before he passed, and my parents refused to allow me the courtesy of seeing him and saying goodbye Bc they didn’t think I’d understand and didn’t want me to see him like that.
That was the most selfish thing they could’ve ever done.
Tell that child what is happening. Keep her in the loop about everything. She deserves it. If you don’t, expect some major resentment in the future.

Tell her what you’ve been told but assure her that you are doing everything you possibly can to prove the doctors wrong and stay with her. Her support may just be what you need to beat it. Prayers and love :heart:

If you keep it from them they could resent you and have many regrets. Gently and honestly would be my route.

My father in law recently passed from cancer. He was diagnosed and they said he would probably have a couple years and he died before the year was up. I would tell her a time frame but also let her know that it could be sooner or later. Doctors don’t really know a time frame. It’s an estimated guess. I had to tell my 3 month old, 3 year old, 5 year old and 7 year old that he was sick and when they finally called hospice, I told them “you wanna know something cool?” And the older kids were all ears and I said “poppy gets to meet Jesus”. They all started asking questions but thought it was cool that he got to go to heaven and meet him. I explained that it’s okay to be sad because we will miss him but we can be happy that he will never be sick again. It was the hardest conversation I’ve ever had but it helped them cope with his passing. We took them to say their goodbyes and he passed the next morning. I know your daughter is older and not everyone is religious but what I’m trying to say is that I had no idea what I was going to tell them but it worked out in the long run. You know your daughter and you will find the perfect words to tell her when you’re ready. It may even help for her mom to be the one to tell her and let her explain everything and answer all the questions. Best of luck!

Transparency. I lost my Dad at 15 from brain cancer. It’s best to be open and honest and ask them if there is anything they specifically want to know or do together before you get more ill. Take A LOT of pictures!

Why tell them at all. It is not a sure thing. If the mom starts to get sicker then have a talk with him. If you tell him now you rob him of the great memories they could be creating.

Tell her honestly and as soon as possible. The sooner she knows the sooner she can prepare. And the more memories you two can start making together.

Th at 16 she probably knows something is up.Especially since its been going on awhile. Just talk to her and tell her.

My mom sat me down at 12 and told me she had 2 years to live and that this might be her last Christmas with me. She lived 7.5 years from that conversation. She passed when I was 19 with a 4 month old baby. Honestly, part of me wouldn’t tell her because no doctor can determine the day you will die. Thats all a gamble. There are people walking around every day that have survived things that should have killed them. You could live another 3 years or you could live another 10 or 20. Who really knows? But then part of me also feels like because I knew my mom was going through what she was, I kept her a lot closer and it didn’t hurt as bad in the end because I had years to come to terms with it. I can’t imagine a way to break this type of news though. And I would probably choose to keep my daughters innocence over telling her. My dad found out about a year after my mom told me she had 2 years to live that he had 3 big cysts on his brain. He chose not to tell me this. I literally just found out and im 27. He is still alive though. When I found out all I could think was how sad that he’s kept that to himself all these years.

My kids have known that my health issues could turn bad since a few years ago, this year they’ve gotten much worse & I’ve been honest with them. We’ve sat down and gone over what happens when I go & my wishes, they say including them has given them the opportunity to be a little prepared, as prepared as one can be anyway. Just be honest momma.

Honesty. Therapy immediately and long-term. Make a list of things that are important to do, questions to ask.

Ten years to live? This story seems a bit far-fetched

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No one has an expiration date on their foot! It’s been 7 years and medical technology improves everyday. I would tell her what the problem is and the projected outcome but nothing is certain

First off, no one can predict 10 or even 3 years when someone is going to die unless a planned murder or suicide so I don’t think I understand this question!

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I wouldn’t. When it’s down to months I would. If it’s still in the years range I would hold off.

Definately tell them! They will have the chance to spend precious time withe the parent. Just don’t put a time limit. But do keep informed at the same time

Children’s Bereavement Center in San Antonio can help you both. Call them up.

The same way one just told us publicly on Facebook?


I was with my husband the night he got the call that his dad was dead. Just be there for the heart break. Hug them tightly

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The sooner you disclose information like that the better. You don’t know if you have 3 years or 10 years left even today or 1 week. Share that information and be there for them while it’s hard to process because it will be even harder on them if you say nothing and see just gone one day…

Once they have enough time to process you can begin creating memories and making sure that what you have left serves a purpose more than just the typical “mom sucks for making me come home early at night” type of relationship.

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Mine would find a way to shorten it to 1

Nobody is guaranteed tomorrow just enjoy and appreciate your loved ones everyday x


Be honest and tell her the truth. No gory details, but honest expectations. They will ask questions, answer them honestly but be brief. So much love to you. :heart::heart::heart:

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Get support from case manager/social worker/school counselor when telling her.


They are stronger then you think tell them now. tell them straight and live every day to the fullest!!

My mom died of cancer last year. Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of her death. My mom and family didn’t tell me how bad it was so I assumed she was better. I was wrong.
I should have checked in with her more. I am a mother of 4 and live multiple states away. But I should have put more effort in.


Be honest , done lie make it as easy to understand as possible

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Very carefully. Don’t forget to tell them jow much you love them and you want them to live their life to the fullest.

I would be blunt about it. I would’ve told the child the day I found out so she could expect it and enjoy every sec she had w her mom. If I had my parents I’d be w them every sec


Tell them honest with lots of love after befor its yo late and u dont wake back up

WoW…any circumstance to include health is not convenient…so keep making memories fast.:raising_hand_woman:t2::smiling_face_with_three_hearts::pray:

Oh wow… geez… my first thought was how “teen” is she? 13 is way different than 17… just make sure she understands the person is ill, make her aware that the illness will eventually cause death, and make her aware that time is precious, so spend as much time with the person as possible. Make every moment count. Make sure she knows you’ll be available to talk and help her through the emotional struggles… advise her of the issue and provide an enormous amount of support, thats all you can do really. Tell the truth and help in any way possible. Im so sorry your family is experiencing this. Prayers for you all.

I feel like 16 is old enough to handle the truth and also old enough and hormonal enough to hold a grudge over what they felt like was secrets. I would be honest but like others said I probably wouldn’t mention the time frame unless they asked and I would let them know that its just an estimate which can go in either direction.

Be honest. We just lost my mom (husband’s mom) on the 25th of May and she was so transparent with us and made it so much easier to talk about and grieve.

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You don’t say it like that! Instead tell her there is a chance that the sand is running down of your hour glass and live for today, you could die today in a car wreck but you don’t remind her everyday that we all could die daily because you need to focus on living and teaching your child what you can while your here.

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How do they know she’s gonna live 3 years? I’m confused. Nobody knows when they are gonna die


No one knows when their time is up. Enjoy today, prepare them for when you’re gone, love every moment given.

Don’t wait to long sit her down explain in as easy as possible and just be there for her!

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I’ve never heard a doctor tell anyone they only had 10 years to live

You wait as long as possible

I would tell her. If it were me I’d wanna know so I could give her as much of my time as possible.

She will be 19 by the time it ends. Let her go about life normal

I would have told her as soon as she was able to understand, so when the time comes, she can say, well, at least my mom lived this long. To just say, mom has only 3 yrs left…thats gonna be hard on her. I went through this with my child and her father, he didn’t tell no one he had cancer, so all we got was a phone call, that he’s in coma, he died 2 week’s after being in a coma… No one knew he had cancer.

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I was 15 when my aunt told me my mom had tumors in her head, arm, lungs, everywhere. I lost my shit. She lived for about 6 months after that…this is a terrible thing to have to tell ur kids… I wish ur health the best of luck, and ur kids will be lost without u, its a very long recovery. Im now 34 and still crying about my mother passing. Just understand they will lash out this isn’t something u take lightly. Im so so sorry u have to go through this and im also sorry of how blunt I was.

idk but you have to tell her so she can use the time she has left with her right. rip the bandaid off and be honest.

don’t deprive her of knowing she’s in her final years w her mama :heart: i can’t possibly imagine how hard it could be to break news like that to your baby but she’ll be thankful you did. praying for y’all, this post broke my heart

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I was told my mom had two weeks to live and it was devastating

I would let them know right away at least the brain can try and cope and prepare rather than it being a shock and also that kid might be angry if u don’t tell her and if she finds out

i have absolutely no experience on this but the way i think about it is its good shes a bit older at 16 there wont be as many painful questions to answer because shes already old enough to understand but i do think you should tell her right away letting her know now will give her much more time to prepare herself and make the most out of what time she has left but also just because she can prepare herself for whats to come i don’t believe it will make the grieving process any easier i dont really think theres a special way to go about this tho other then just sitting her down and talking it out with her

So you already went 7 years without saying anything?

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Have a family meeting with the mom, you, dad and your teen.

Tell her and tell her soon. If you don’t have life insurance I’d get some like now so that she doesn’t have to try and come up with the cost, so in my opinion let her know you’re not scared even if you are don’t show fear, and the reason i say this is it’s much easier mind set when said person passes on, like my husbands grandma just passed away a little over a month ago and we spoke to her almost everyday and we talked about death and she was very sure she wasn’t scared, she knows where she’s going and she knew when it was time, idk but it brought a lot more peace then and now knowing she wasn’t scared…

And for you guys saying that she hasn’t told her for 7 year I can almost guarantee that she was told 10 years and it changed to 3 years and more then likely she knows she had ten years to live now she has to tell her it went down to 3.

Don’t wait to long to tell her sit her down and explain the best way possible hug her and just be there through it.

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Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. How do you tell your teen her mom doesn't have long to live?

When I was 14 my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. They gave her 6 months tops.
My mother was upfront with me the entire time, and very open and honest with me. She helped prepare me for the inevitable while she herself was trying to do the same. She succeeded and helped me mourn her death before it happened.
This is a cautionary tale though, as after a double mastectomy and chemo and radiation she went into remission. Our relationship was destroyed. How do you interact with someone who you have lost and mourned. I know it sounds strange, and I don’t believe it was either one of ours faults, I had to become a caretaker instead of a daughter, and we struggled going back, but my mother and I were not able to have a healthy functional relationship again until her cancer came back 3 years later.
However, when it came back, and my mother did pass away I was able to deal with everything a lot easier and healthier than I probably would have.
It’s still hard 15 years later, but we were able to say the things we both needed to before it was too late and that does make it easier to cope with the grief.

I am so heartbroken for this child, her mom and the other parent!! While I haven’t had to deal with this with either of my parents, my 2 youngest siblings (my dad & his 2nd wife’s kids) had to with my step-mom. They were young teens, and she died of brain cancer. I cannot even imagine how devastating it was for not only them, but for my step-mom, & my dad having to break that news. Sending prayers, hugs, comfort, & love to this family.

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Be honest and tell her ASAP. They gave my friend a yr and he was gone in 3 months. Let her truly treasure what time she has left with her mom.

Be honest sooner rather than too late. I was 9 when my mother passed, I knew she was sick but didn’t know it was serious, I found out later that everyone around me knew even my 11 year old sister. No one felt any need to fill me in and I’ve always had a sore spot from that.


My mom died when my youngest brother was 16. Even though he knew it was coming it threw him into a downward spiral that took years to recover from. My best advice is to talk about it openly and honestly all the time. Let her help with care and decisions, don’t make her feel like she’s not a part of this bc she absolutely is. This will effect her whole life for the rest of her life.

Be very honest. That time isn’t even guaranteed. It’s heart breaking to go through but she needs to know so she can prepare herself as much as possible.

Just be honest and be there for her . Big hugs x

M devastated after reading this. I would like to say prepare her,
give her confidence how to face ups and downs of life in your absence and if u r not close with each other because almost every teenage kid is stubborn and distant they think their mommy is not friendly so be her bestfriend so that she wont have any regrets that she wasn’t good enough with u when you needed her the most. Lot of hugs and prays for u.

Sit her down and tell her. Be honest about everything, and be sure to answer all of her questions with honesty and compassion. I was 19 when I lost my mother to MS. I was by her side through it all, and although I knew it was coming, it was still one of the hardest things that I have ever done. The best thing you can do is be completely transparent about everything. It will be hard enough for her without the added feelings of hurt and betrayal because it was kept from her. Be sure to understand her emotions, and make sure that all of her feelings are validated. She will have a whirlwind of emotions, and make sure you support those emotions and make sure she knows that it is okay to feel however she is feeling. Make sure to check in on her wellbeing often, and give her a chance to explain how she feels. As parents we want to keep our children safe and protected both physically and mentally. But as sad as it is, this is the ugly side to this life, and it is better for her to be as prepared as she possibly can be. I pray that your family has as much quality time as possible, and that you can all find some peace, and hope in the time that you have left together.

As someone who watched her father deal with cancer for two years before passing away an no one explained anything to me (I was 9), please I beg you tell your child!! A sudden passing is much harder than someone who you are aware is sick an progressively gotten worse over time. You child deserves time to prepare an understand what’s happening. Be honest.

Sit her down and tell her. Never let her forget her mom ever. Be understanding with her.

Definitely be honest… my dad had cancer n he didn’t tell any of us for 2 years… and when he finally did tell us he died 6 months later

So hard to tell kids sometimes…and alot of kids these days don’t believe things are as serious as they are.

I can’t decide if it’s better to tell her and her mourn all that time or not tell…sucks either way…

Sit her down and be honest with her.

Tell her. She has a right to know.


U just have to tell her
My mom went from being healthy to dying in less then a year from cancer my little sister was 16

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I would talk about the sickness without the timeline, truthfully you could tell her to prepare for 10 years and the mom could last 30 more & there would’ve been no reason for the conversation. Timeline is not guaranteed, the illness is and the complications to expect for her to witness are. I would focus more on that aspect of getting through the struggles of helping her mom for the next chapter of her life.

Be honest. Expecting and not expecting to lose a parent isn’t easy. My mom passed unexpectedly at 60 no health issues. My mother-in-law passed expected at 60 the next year. My grandpa which was a father figure passed in 2012 we knew he was sick but didn’t make losing him easier. I think it would have helped knowing with my mom. Its been 4 yrs, they think it was a pulmonary embolism, but couldn’t tell us what caused her death. We can’t even get comfort of “at least she’s no longer suffering”. Only God knows when our or our loved ones time will be up. I believe if we know someone is sick or we are sick we should share that unless the child is too little to understand. I would have been hurt and angry had my mom or someone else had known something was wrong with my mom and didn’t tell me. Help her to prepare as much as one can to be independent and self sufficient. You never stop needing or wanting your mom but if you don’t know how to do many things on your own it can be harder. There are 5 of us, 2 relied heavily on our mom. They are struggling as they did while she was here she just isn’t here to help them.

A friend with severe lung cancer (was told there’s nothing they can do for him) was told he had 1-1.5 yrs MAYBE and here we are 6.5 yrs later an he still is kicking…lung cancer an now skin cancer. Everyone was ready for his funeral an he is still here. Its tough and you could tell your daughter but I wouldn’t want to know and dwell on everything we do. This could be our last vacation. Our last dinner. Our last trip shopping and be constantly worried an bot able to fully enjoy our time and memories together vut I get wanting to tell her. I would want to prepare my son as well. Maybe tell her the timeline has changed. Offer to let her comr to appts an talk with ur Drs and get more information about everytibg either together or on your own so you can educate an help her when u tell her

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My father died when I was 12 and I wish I had known he was going to die. I am left with so many regrets and wish I would have dones… I am now 42 and still struggle with his death. He had a long sickness but it wasn’t explained to me that he was going to die anytime soon. I had no idea the seriousness of it. Please be honest, also stress that no Dr can know the day we die. They can give estimates but they are not set in stone.

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Research suggests that children deal with the death of a parent better if it is expected.

The parent can support the child through the grieving process.

16yrs is a difficult time were they want to spread their wings and be with friends more than parents.

You should sit down and tell her. Be honest.

You dont want her to regret the day she said goodbye without kissing her mum, or regret that she choose to spend time with friends instead of her mum.

This could mean your blamed for the “what if i had known”. And you are the person your 16yrs old will need the most.

As a child who went through this, im glad i knew, im glad i had honesty.

I wish i had cherished more things and i have regrets and i knew what was happening. But i can absolutely tell you if i had not of known i would have regretted every little action and behaviour and this would have stuck with my soul and created a deeper shame than what i had.

Jist sit her down and tell her, with her mum. It will be hard but i can guarantee you that if you dont tell her, and she finds out you you knew you will find your self at the end of a lot of displaced hate and anger from a greiving teen.

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All I can say is please tell her! My mom kept so many secrets about her health that when I got the call that she was gone I was not only shattered but so confused. Let her know how valuable these last years are going to be so she can make the best of them. I know i wish I could’ve.

Be honest with her. At 16 she’s old enough for the truth.

I was in 7th grade when my parents had to tell us my Mom wasn’t expected to love long. It was hard to hear but definitely sit her down and start from the beginning with all the information and give it to her straight!!! Hugs coming your way!!!