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What Happens To Kids When A Parent Is Seriously Ill?

Aired 1/24/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.

Guests: Ronald Bonn, journalist and journalism teacher at the University of San Diego.

Kathleen McCue, child-life specialist at the Cleveland Clinic.


Parents traditionally want to protect their kids, not just from real danger but also from sadness and insecurity. The first reaction of many parents, when they become seriously ill, is to keep their illness from their kids as much as possible. But that's often not the best idea.

A book that has helped thousands of families maneuver through the illness (and even the death) of a parent has now been revised and updated. How to Help Children Through a Parent's Serious Illness is the result of an interesting collaboration between a child life specialist and a reporter. Kathleen McCue is a child-life specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. Ronald Bonn is a veteran television journalist who now teaches journalism at the University of San Diego.

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