Home > Blog

Preventing cancer in our kids: parental guilt trip

Wednesday 23 May, 2012 by Mel

Working in an organisation that is not only promoting but practicing the 7 cancer prevention messages can be quite stressful. Fair enough, I only work part time so don't have to hear about it as often as the full-timers, but am constantly reminded about: 

  • healthy eating (they replaced our vending machines with a fruit box)
  • exercise (spin classes in our old photocopy room anyone?)
  • maintaining a healthy weight (we had tape measures floating around for a while with 85cm for women marked on them – like I'm going to fit that around my waist after coming back from maternity leave)
  • limiting alcohol (not even a glass of champers at our Christmas gathering)
  • quit smoking (ok, they can have that one because ‘yuk')
  • be SunSmart (sunscreen in our toilets to pop on before lunch)
  • have age-appropriate screening tests (at least we haven't resorted to Pap tests in the meeting room – yet).

If that's not enough to contend with, I then have to apply it to my children. Trying to look after myself is bad enough, but getting three kids to apply sunscreen before we go outside – it's like Pro Hart has been at work in my house. Or healthy eating – that's enough to do my head in. Not only am I constantly saying ‘No, we're not having McDonalds for dinner, I don't care if it's your favourite', but when they want a sandwich (on wholemeal bread) they want stras, or ham – why won't they just settle for a nice salad sandwich? I am riddled with guilt that I'm setting them up for bowel cancer in later life.

Then there's the exercise thing and trying to balance that against not going out in the middle of the day in summer. It appears THE ONLY time they want to go out on the trampoline (or ‘Tim' as my 2 year old calls it) is when UV levels are extreme. And now that it's the middle of winter and I want them to go and exercise in the middle of the day so they can get some vitamin D they just want to sit and play their DS, or on the iPad. So not only am I contending with cancer, but rickets! (maybe that's a bit extreme, but you get my gist).

And how much am I looking forward to their teens when we deal with the smoking and alcohol issues? At least when I was a teen, my parents could turn a blind eye to alcohol as it just got us drunk – no one ever told them it could cause cancer. But NOW, I know alcohol can cause cancer. So not only will they make idiots of themselves if they drink alcohol, I can be riddled with even more guilt that they could be causing cancer.

But who knows, hopefully by the time my kids are adults there'll be a cure for cancer, and all my worrying will have been for nothing – but that's something I could live with.


I'm hearin ya sista! I was always one of those people who said (prior to having kids) that I would never give my kids Maccas, or junk food, but then reality (and exhaustion) hits and BAM you've just given in to it. As for the sunscreen side of things, well when you have a blood test to tell you that you are EXTREMELY low in Vitamin D, and you put more sunscreen on your kid than yourself, it does make you wonder what his level would be. Way too many things to worry about these days, bring back the olden days!

From: Kellie, 15/04/2013

Leave a comment

Read our blog participation guidelines and join the discussion. (Please note: Your first name will appear with your comment, but your surname and email address will not be shown.)

Security Code   Change Image
Write the characters in the image above