How healing wishes help the whole family
A new study confirms that granting a wish to a child with a life-threatening illness has a positive impact not only on the child but parents too.
Researchers in the Netherlands surveyed 235 parents of kids who were granted a request by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Moms and dads were asked how they felt the experience helped their child cope with their illness and whether the entire family benefited as well.
A majority of parents, 92 percent, said receiving the wish allowed their child to momentarily escape the reality of their illness. Additionally, parents said being able to have that precious memory helped them through the eventual grieving process.
Study leaders said in a news release this is the first time the positive benefits of wish granting has been researched.
“There has been a growing interest in the influence of positive events on wellbeing, especially of those people who are ill. Many organizations organize events with the hypothesis that these events improve the lives of the recipients. However research on such activities and their impact has been fairly scarce, said Dr Anne-Sophie Darlington.
Though it was rated as a positive experience overall, nearly half of parents said they had bittersweet feelings—happy their child was granted the wish but unhappy they were eligible to receive one.
“Our study has shown that on the whole the experience is a positive one with children experiencing more energy and parents being distracted. However, longer term effects were only found for a small group of parents and children, Dr. Darlington said. “We are very grateful to the parents for taking part in our study.”
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