Children can become fascinated with the concept of death at a young age. Many children are influenced by magical thinking and cannot conceptualize the permanence of death. Other children come into contact with death usually with the loss of a small pet such as a fish or hamster.
The article, “Why Do 4-Year-Olds Love Talking About Death?” by Jessica Grose looks at this curious interest. The article states,
“When our older daughter was 4, it seemed like she was asking us about death constantly. These questions were apropos of nothing; we hadn’t had a death in the family or lost a pet. What was jarring was her matter-of-fact tone.”
Healthcare professionals need to understand the nature and grief of children. Children grieve differently and need guidance. Certified Child and Adolescent Grief Counselors can help in this process.
Some may already be licensed counselors, others may be social workers or health care providers, but a certification in Child and Adolescent Grief Counseling is a useful tool in helping grieving children.
The article, “When Children Grieve: 10 Important Points for Youth Welfare Professionals” by Irene Searles McClatchey looks at important aspects of child grief. The article states,
“The following 10 tips for helping grieving children and teens and their caregivers derive from my own practice with bereaved children. I have held healing camps for children and adolescents bereaved of a parent or sibling three to four times a year for the past 24 years. Over this time span it has become evident that children need to have their grief acknowledged and a space to have their feelings listened to.”
Interesting article on experiencing grief at a young age and how it affects one in adulthood.
The article, “Tragedy, magical thinking, and the lasting impact of grief” by Geraldine de Brit looks at a tragic loss of her mother and sibling in an accident and how she felt and adapted through the years.
The article states,
“Even now, 42 years later, this event still has the ability to feel unreal, like it must have been a mistake and I ask myself, “ how could it have happened? How could I not have seen them in all this time?” In such moments it can even feel like they might still come back, like I am leading an interim life until they do.”
Those who experience more loss when young have different outlooks on life. Youthful grieving takes a toll but also prepares one for life and how to cope. It can also though if not handled correctly, cause future grieving problems. Hence it is important to help the young grieve properly.
The article,7 Ways Grieving When You’re Young Changes You, According To Experts, by Lindsey Mack states,
Coping with the loss of a loved one is difficult at any age. But for children who experience grief at a young age, the effects of this loss may continue into adulthood. There are quite a few ways grieving when you’re young changes you in general.
Play therapy has always been a beneficial tool in helping children in counseling. Expressing grief is no different. Children are able to express grief and trauma through play. A counselor is then able to help the child express the grief in a productive way through play therapy.
The article, How play therapy can help children heal, by Karen Marley looks at the benefits of play therapy. She states,
“Play therapy is an evidence-based practice that helps a child build a greater sense of self. When engaged in play therapy, a child uses his or her entire self – mind and body – to express unconscious fears, thoughts, wishes and feelings.”
AIHCP offers a certification in Child and Adolescent Grief Counseling which can help prepare counselors for dealing with child grief. Please review our full Grief Counseling Training and see if it matches your academic and professional needs.
Dealing with grief in schools is a big issue as more and more shootings and tragedies occur in our nation. Schools do not always have the resources or grief counselors on hand to help students overcome grief.
The article, “Schools fall short when it comes to helping grieving students” by David Schonfeld states,
“An adolescent experiences the death of his mother after a lengthy illness. When I ask what services he would like to receive from the school, he initially says he didn’t expect special treatment, would be embarrassed by counseling from the school mental health staff and wouldn’t feel comfortable if many of his teachers asked to talk to him about his grief.”
Losing a parent is always painful but even more so for a child. Losing the important bond and memories to death of a parent at an early age can be traumatic for some. Please also review our Child Grief Counseling Program to learn more. Please click here
The article, The Death of a Parent Affects Even Grown Children Psychologically and Physically, by Joshua Krish states,
“Losing a parent is the closest thing humanity has to a universal emotional experience. But universality doesn’t dampen the trauma of the event, which tends to inform and affect the rest of peoples’ lives.”
Good article on how grandparents can better talk to their grandchildren about grief. Children grieve differently and need help expressing and understanding it. Sometimes only grandparents are available or in the child’s life
The article, How to speak to your grandchildren about grief and death, by Starts at 60 Writers states
“Grief can be one of the hardest emotions to deal with at any age, but for a small child, it’s also extremely confusing and can be very scary.
That’s why children so badly need the adults in their lives to help them make sense of the emotions they may be feeling, and while parents play a huge role in this, grandparents are a much-needed support to their grandkids too, especially if the parents aren’t available or are suffering with grief themselves.”
Good article on grief and loss of a child and how to care for the surviving sibling.
The article, Caring for Siblings of Sick or Disabled Children, by Perri Klass, M.D states,
“Having a child changes you into a parent, and as we all know, that is not a simple change; there’s nothing one-and-done about it. And having a seriously ill child changes you forever as a family; it’s important for everyone who tries to help families to understand that when one child in a family is seriously ill, or lives with a chronic disability, the siblings are also profoundly shaped by the experience.”
Big questions surround exposing a child to grief or allowing them to participate in a funeral. Old school values say no, but new bereavement science states that is the worst thing to do for a child. Children need to express themselves and over protective shielding is not healthy long term for a child.
The article, Is it OK to take a young child to a funeral?, by Rachel Halliwell
“Seeing the distress on her 10-year-old daughter Charlotte’s face as her mother-in-law’s coffin was carried into church, Katherine Nicholson instantly regretted allowing her child to attend a funeral so young. “She was distraught,” says Katherine. “She couldn’t take her eyes off the coffin and was sobbing as she gripped my hand.”