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Welcome to a new service that we are providing within our website. Our goal with this newsletter is to provide you with information concerning upcoming events within our community. We also wish to provide you with topics within our profession that we feel will be helpful to you. Therefore, if you would like something published in our newsletter or would like information on a certain topic related to death and dying, please contact us.
Our topic for this newsletter is Discussing Grief With Children.
One of the most difficult tasks following the death of a loved one is discussing and explaining the death with other children in the family. This task is even more distressing when the parents are in the midst of their own grief. Since many adults have problems dealing with death, they assume that children also cannot cope with it. Parents may try to protect other children by leaving them out of the discussions and rituals associated with the death. Thus, children may feel anxious, bewildered, and alone. The children may be left on their own to seek answers to their questions at a time when they most need the help and assurance of those around them.
All children will be affected in some way by a death in a family. Above all, children who are too young for explanations need love from the significant people in their lives to maintain their own security. Young children may be so overwhelmed that they may appear to be unaffected. It is common for them to express their feelings through behavior and play. Regardless of this ability or inability to express themselves, children do grieve, often very deeply.
Experts have determined that those in grief pass through four major emotions: Fear, Anger, Guilt and Sadness. It should be remembered that everyone who is touched by a death experiences these emotions to some degree - grandparents, friends, physicians, nurses and children. Each adult and child's reaction to death is individual in nature.
It is important to remember that shock, physical symptoms, such as headaches or a stomachache, anger, guilt, anxiety and fear, regression to behaviors previously outgrown, such as bed wetting or thumb sucking and sadness are normal expressions of grief in children. In the grieving process, time is an important factor. Experts have said that six months after a significant death in a child's life, seeking professional advise of those who are familiar with the child (e.g. teachers, pediatricians, clergy) may be helpful.
Please feel free to stop by the funeral home and ask about our lending library of books, many of which deal with the life adjustment that follows the death of a loved one. Call us about mutual support groups available in our community. We realize that in many cases the funeral is only the beginning of the grief cycle. Sometimes a book, pamphlet, or understanding support may help you along the path of recovery.
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