GRIEF AND LOSS
GRIEF AND LOSS
When a child experiences the death of someone close to them, it can be difficult to know how he or she is feeling. Your school counselor has information for parents that answers many of the most common questions including: How to speak to children about death; at what level is my child understanding the loss; is it appropriate to have my child attend the funeral or viewing; and is my child's reaction to the death normal. You are welcome to contact the counselor for this information.
Two books which also provide information for families include: Talking about Death: A Dialogue between Parent and Childby Earl A. Grollman (ISBN#: 0-8070-2363-9) and"How do we Tell the Children?: A Step-by-step Guide for Helping Children Two to Teen Cope When Someone Diesby Dan Schaefer and Christine Lyons (ISBN#: 1-55704-181-4).
Generally, children ages three to five think that death is temporary and reversible and may confuse death with sleep or wonder what the deceased is doing. Children ages six to nine think about the finality of death and the biological processes associated with it. Children in this age may think about what will happen to them if a parent dies, and may feel their own actions or words caused the death. Children aged nine to twelve have a greater understanding about the finality of death and may find the subject hard to talk about. They may joke about death, but still feel anxious that it might happen again. They are also concerned with what would happen if a parent dies and that they are responsible by their words or actions for the death. A teenager's perception of death is similar to the previous age group, however, they also feel a need to be in control of their feelings and may find it difficult to express emotion.
For more information, please contact your school counselor or your child's teacher. Both are very helpful in supporting your child through a difficult time.