How One Little Girl Fights Cancer to Become a Brave Princess

Parenting Interview ~ Turning a Bald Little Princess into a Strong Brave Girl
by Jean Tracy

If your 4-year-old girl was bald from chemotherapy, how would you help her? If she wanted to be a beautiful princess but had no hair, what would you do? Find out how my friend and colleague, Kathy Slattengren from helped Lisa.

I’ve been reading Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein and decided to ask experts what they thought about the “Princess Phenomenon.” Little did I know that my friend, Kathy, had some first-hand experience.

Jean: How did you come to know 4-year-old Lisa, Kathy?

Kathy: Her parents had already taken parenting classes from me. I became involved with Lisa, when her mother called for some help. I went over to see what I could do.

Jean: How did Lisa look?

Kathy: She was out of it, so listless. I found it difficult to connect with her. The TV was on and grandparents were watching over her. Lisa was on the brink of death and she was bald.

Jean: You told me that Lisa she wanted something and you helped her. What did she want?

Kathy: Lisa wanted to be a princess. She said, “I can’t be a princess without my hair.” She was so sad. It got me thinking. I went home and wrote a princess story about her.

Jean: Why?

Kathy: Because young children can often confuse reality with fantasy. Not being able to be a princess was real to her.

Jean: How did the story help?

Kathy: The story mirrored Lisa’s reality of being sick, losing her hair. I added real pictures of Lisa in my story too. Here are some statements from the villagers in the story:

1. “We see that your hair is gone but that is not what makes you a princess.”

2. “It is your courage. You have been so courageous to go through all those treatments.”

3. “It is your patience. Not many people would be patient enough to go through 9 treatments at the hospital.

4. “You are a princess because of the beauty you have inside you. Even when you aren’t feeling well, I’ve seen your smile light up the room.”

Jean: What was your goal for writing this story?

Kathy: To help Lisa see that her sickness not only made her a princess but a very strong brave princess. She felt special too.

Jean: How is Lisa today?

Kathy: She’s in remission. It’s been a year. One more thing, when she turned 5, she had a princess birthday party. 18 little girls attended and a “real princess” came to the party. She did magic tricks and painted faces. Lisa was thrilled.

Jean: You’re such a creative person, Kathy! I hope everyone checks out your website, and spends some time reading your parenting articles and checking out your online parenting classes and products.

I left Kathy feeling pleased that she used the “Princess Phenomenon” so effectively. I knew that Kathy is an outdoor person and raised her daughter to stand on her own two feet. Both she and her husband wanted their daughter to be strong and independent. She competes as a gymnast, skis, camps, and is now in college. Although Kathy’s daughter wasn’t raised to be a princess, Kathy was able to help out a sick bald child who badly wanted to be one.

What do you think?

Please comment in the comment link below. Don’t forget to add your email so I can separately send you 10 Beautifully Crafted Love Notes for Your Kids in a separate email.

With warm wishes,

Jean Tracy, MSS

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