Skip navigation

    DD, Aged 17

    When people would talk they didn't know what to say which was understandable.  more...


    Mimi - 15 years old

    I lost myself doing stupid things, angry and sad and depressed at everything. I ended up failing my classes, not caring about school, and getting into fights.  more...


    Chelsea - 14 years old

    I stuck my head round the door in the room mum was in, and she looked really ill. I couldn't understand what was happening - one minute my mum was fine and the next she was ill.  more...


    Clair - aged 14

    Something I wish is I could just have one more day with my dad! - to tell him how much I love him and how sorry I am for all the bad things I have said and done to him!  more...


    Nicole - 17 years old

    This time the doctors are unable to operate. He has already had 6 sessions of chemo and is having another 6 sessions. I cannot help feeling I may lose him.  more...


    Rirrif - 15 years old

    I have been staying with my dad because my mom doesn't want me around when she is sick, which is all the time. My dad works at night so I spend a lot of time alone since I'm not with my mom. I'm afraid she is going to die and I'll blame myself for not being there more. more...


    HT - 13 years old

    She has been so strong about this and is keen to put it all behind her.  more...

Can you please give me some advise on how to cope with school.

Hi - Im finding school really difficult to cope with because my dad is ill. I can't concentrate in class and my homework is really bad. Can you please give me some advise on haw to cope with school. thank you

I am very sorry to hear about your dad being ill and it is absolutely natural that you have difficulties concentrating at school and focusing on your homework. Clearly, your mind is fully engaged with thinking about what's happening to your dad and you are bound to have worries about the future. Lack of concentration is one of the most common problems people experience when someone close to them is ill and it will affect everyone in the family. It will of course have a different impact, depending on each individual situation and the type of tasks that you are expected to carry out in your daily life. It is often a huge problem in school situations compared to other daily activities because it requires full attention in class and also deep concentration in doing the homework.

I really hope that the school has been made aware of the situation - otherwise this would be our first advice. This in itself may not make it any easier for you to concentrate, but it is important that your teachers know what you are going through so that they can support you in the best possible way. Their understanding of the situation may take some of the pressure off you and they can help you if there are particular things you are struggling with.

Secondly, I don't know if you have told your friends about what's happening, but that could also be a good idea if you haven't. Difficulties in concentrating often get worse if your mind is constantly full of concerns that you are not sharing with other people around you. If you let the lid off your emotions now and then, you may find it easier to have some time when your head is not full of it all. If you are constantly trying to keep a straight face, it will bottle up inside you and you will not be able to think of anything else. It is also a very lonely situation to be in at a time when you more than ever need people to talk to. You may find that your friends treat you differently as they may be very unsure about what to say or do. Some people might avoid you altogether and this can be very hard. It is only because they feel helpless about what to say and how to deal with it and then it is easier for them to opt out and avoid the situation. This is very difficult and although you have enough on your mind and it is unfair to expect you to take a lead, it will be much easier if you are open to people and tell them how you want them to support you. Do you want to talk about things or not? To whom and when do you want to talk? How do you want to be treated? You can read more about how to talk to the school and your friends in the section of riprap called "Talking about cancer".

The way you communicate within the family can also play a part. If you don't talk about what's happening at home, it is only natural that all the thoughts will get to you when you are away from home. It is also natural that our minds wander to difficult things in situations when we are meant to concentrate, because we are away from other distractions then. It is easier to keep thoughts at a distance when we are busy doing things, but when you sit down quietly at school or at home to do homework, then it gets more difficult to keep difficult thoughts away.

Another thing you could also do is to try and set aside time to think and talk about what's troubling you. That way, you may be able to better control the times when you are focusing on difficult things so that it doesn't always overflow when you need to concentrate.

Also, if there are things you need to know more about with regard to your dad's illness, you should talk to your parents about it. Many parents underestimate what their children need to know and you need to tell them how you feel and ask them questions that may be constantly on your mind.

Finally, you could also check out the forum on the riprap website and either reply to any of the other teenagers out there or write your own message in the forum and see if anyone out there go through the same as you.