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A 43-year-old member asked:

Advice? when counseling children in grief of loss what are the precautions to take?

1 doctor answer4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Marybeth Lambe
Travel Medicine 45 years experience
Some Thoughts: Don't force agenda. Children grieve their own timetable. They may be playing happily one minute, & ready to talk the next. Let child pick communication style. Some kids prefer to let puppets or stuffed animals "talk" it out for them. Some express in art. Talking may be easier while walking, looking through pictures. Answer the question, even if it is a really hard one see below for more.
Dr. Marybeth Lambe
Travel Medicine 45 years experience
Provided original answer
Remember each child grieves differently. Some want to talk about their loss a great deal, others only in small bursts. One child may want to look at pictures over and again, another cannot bear to do so or acts indifferent. Grief can come out as new immaturity, anger, whining, fearfulness, night fears. Grief can be imperceptible. A kid will cycle through all this and exhaust himself and the adults around him. Just because a child isn't saying anything don't believe they aren't thinking about the loss. Talk about the person who died; speak of your own warm memories. Role model that tears and laughter are part of remembering. When listening, don't correct or try and "fix it". Be the safe person who they can trust wtih any thought. Give a child a concrete place for their memories--a special memory day, memorial site, a box or basket to place artwork & loving thoughts. Let them breath--take a break for happy excursions, funny movies, seeing friends.
Apr 14, 2013

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Last updated May 12, 2016

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