Welcome to Hope for Grieving Mothers

If you are new to this club (that no one asked to join- the one where your child has died), it is best to start by going to the BOTTOM RIGHT and look at the "Pages" section. Under this section you will find resources for mothers who are grieving the loss of their child. Resources to help your children deal with grief are also grouped together.

Next, feel free to look at the "Blog Archives." There are many topics that you may have an interest in reading. As you girlies know, we now have Teflon brains and often cannot have the focus power that we have had in the past. Feel free to come here often and hopefully you will FEEL the loving support that me and other mamas are sending. Hopefully you will begin to see sparks of hope for your future...

Hugs... Pamela

Children's Understanding of Death - According to their Age




Children’s Understanding of Death
AGE UNDERSTANDINGS SUGGESTIONS

This is quoted from www.brookesplace.org
Brooke’s Place is a nonprofit organization in Indianapolis providing support and services to grieving children and families in the belief that hope for tomorrow begins today.

 
Infant or Toddler
Understanding:  Cannot understand death. All he/she knows is
that someone who cared for him/her is no longer present.
Suggestions:  Physical holding and soothing are essential.

 
Ages 2-4
Understanding:  Death is somehow still living. (Dead people feel it
if you step on their graves) Abstract terms
("heaven") are confusing.
Explain death in clear terms. Don’t equate
illness with sleep or similar symptoms child has
experienced. Avoid religious and symbolic
language.

Suggestions: The body got hurt or ill and couldn’t
get better.

Ages 5-6
Understanding:  Death is reversible, magical thinking. No
association of pain w/death. Self is immortal.
Beginning to suspect parents might die.
They need help if they are to talk about death.

Suggestions:  Reading books and discussing pictures might
help them express themselves. Ceremony helps
them to make sense out of the death.

Ages 7-8
Understanding: Beginning to suspect that they themselves might
die. Develop an interest in the causes of death:
violence, old age, sickness. They see long range
but can’t see consequences.
Death viewed as final, but outside the realm of
the child’s realistic mind. Magical thinking (what
they’ve thought or wished or done has made
things happen.) still a part of their process.
Being a part of the death experience helps them
make sense out of the impact of the death on
family. Drawing pictures often provides an
outlet for expressing feelings. Allow child to
cry-especially boys.

Suggestions:  Assure them that they in no way caused the
death.

Ages 9-10
Understanding: To view death as realistic and an inevitable
part of life. May fear death. Asks for information
on biological reasons for death ("Why does the
heart stop beating?")

Suggestions: Give details of biological facts. Tissues change,
motor function deterioration. Heart stops, no
feeling, breathing stops.

Ages 11-12
Understanding: Beginning to develop an interest in spiritual
aspects of life.

Suggestions: Reaffirm or introduce family’s ethnic and
religious values. Read books together,
separately, then discuss.
Adolescence
Understanding: Essentially adult view of death, though sees self as
invincible. Especially sensitive to death of a family
member, particularly death of parent, because
involved in cutting ties. Adolescence itself is
precarious and is a grief process (teen loses
childhood, parent fearing child leaving home,
family life is changing.)

Suggestions: Discussions with physicians, health care givers,
and support groups are helpful. Because teen is
impulsive, suicide needs to be discussed (causes
for despair, reasons for hope, the meaning of
life.) Courses on death and dying are helpful.



Adapted from Children’s Understanding of Death by Janis Snyder.

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