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Adolescence

Adolescents develop more abstract

conceptions of death than children do. At

this age they begin to think that they are

immune to death. They believe death only

occurs to others and not them.

Adolescents develop a religious and

philosophical views about the nature of

death and whether there is life after

death. At this age they begin to help their

younger siblings on how to understand

the loss of a family member.

life after death. At this age they begin to help their younger siblings on how to

Childhood

Children from 3-5 years of age do not understand what death means and do not think that people die. They may think that they are just sleeping and during this early age, children do not get upset when they see or hear about someone or something dying. They may also believe that they could have caused the death of someone by doing something wrong when they asked them not to. Children age 6-9 believe that only some people die and that death is temporary. At this age they may also believe that certain things may cause death. For example, if they got a new toy the day a family member died, they may think that is what causes the death if they are not fully explained what had happened. Children 9 and older better understand death and know that it is universal and irreversible and that they cannot do things that they did when they were alive. Even with a better understanding about death, children at this age may think that it cannot happen to them or their family. To them, only old and sick people die.

Xelene Aviles

Alyx Merickel

Megan Collison

Seema Sharma

Grieving Child A guide to helping parents and school staff how to help a grieving
Grieving Child
A guide to helping parents
and school staff how to help a
grieving child.

Parental Support

- Help your child understand death by welcoming questions and answering with honest and simple answers to explain death.

- Involve children in family activities of mourning and mentally prepare them about the activity and what to expect.

- Allow your child to express their grief by using arts and crafts, physical activities, playing with adults etc.

- If possible, keep the daily routine intact and re-insure the child that there will be someone to care for them always.

- Ensure that the child has a support system that is aware (i.e. school counselor, teachers, coaches, etc.)

- Reach out to local resources for information on other grief support services.

resources for information on other grief support services. School Personnel can help Grieving Families School

School Personnel can help Grieving Families

School Counselors/Psychologists

-Help student and family understand what has occurred

-Help identify reactions

-Provide reassurance with concerns on own health

-Offer support to minimize distress

-Offer advice

-Inform families about local resources for additional assistance

How Any School Personal can initiate Conversation

-Express your concern

-Be genuine and honest

-Listen and observe; talk less

-Use open-ended questions to initiate conversation

-Limit sharing of personal experiences

-Offer practical advice

-Offer appropriate reassurance

-Communicate your availability for support

What NOT to do/say to Someone Grieving

-Try not to cheer them up, allow them to feel however they are feeling

-Avoid ?at least?statements

-Do not instruct them to hide their emotions

-Avoid sharing your own feelings, instead ask them about theirs

-Do not tell them how they are supposed to feel

-Avoid comparing their experience with personal ones, focus on theirs

What Teachers can look out For

-Change in lifestyle

-Less interaction with friends

-Loss of shared memories

-Decreased special attention

-Loss of sense of safety and trust in the world

How Teachers can Modify to fit Appropriate Workloads

-Adapting assignments; eg. allow a written presentation versus oral

-Change the focus or timing of a lesson

-Reduce or coordinate homework and extracurricular activities so the student can meet expectations

-Modify or excuse the student from tests to relive some pressure

-Inform the other students what the child is going through and how to help

Good Questions to ask Regarding Culture

-?Can you tell me how your family and your culture recognize and cope with the death of a family member??

-?How does this fit with your own preferences at this time??

-?Can you help me understand how I can best be of help to you and your family??