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Helping Children Trust Themselves Because young children get their understanding of life primarily through their senses, tying news to a sensory or physical connection often helps them grasp it.
Such an approach can also reinforce their trust in their own powers of observation.
Wishes and blessings can be exchanged, and the child can be given loving permission to have a successful, satisfying life.
A thoughtful good-bye visit leaves less unfinished business to complicate the grief that follows the loss.
The always/never, good/bad scorekeeping can often be observed in situations that involve assigning blame, dealing with moral or religious issues, or wrangling about politics, and it often shows up in domestic disagreements: “You always expect me to pick up after you.” “What do you mean?
I’m always happy to help.” “Well, for one thing, you never wash the dishes.” “And what about you?
Each helps the child recover from the loss, accept what has happened, and move toward healing.
Although children may have a mixture of these feelings, shifting among them over time, it is not unusual for one reaction to predominate at first, and then for the child to begin work on another as the first subsides.
Reeling with her own shock and bereavement, it is understandable that she might wish to postpone talking to them, to avoid seeing them, or at least to discourage their expressions of distress.
Youngsters who do not have the chance to exchange good-byes or to receive permission to move on sometimes are more likely to sustain additional damage to their basic sense of trust and security to their self esteem, and to their ability to initiate and sustain strong relationships.
This second phase of mourning has several components: yearning and pining; searching; dealing with sadness, anger, anxiety, guilt, and shame; experiencing disorganization and despair; and finally beginning the job of reorganization.
A significant separation or loss definitely is the child’s business and needs to be explained as thoroughly as possible to help avoid serious repercussions later.
If the questions are too personal to handle or if the separation hinges on sexual or financial matters inappropriate for discussion with children, you might say, “That’s an OK question, but I feel private about the answer, and I really don’t want to talk about it.” Helping Children Say Good-bye After the news of the upcoming loss or change has been introduced and explored, children need to be given the opportunity to say whatever good-byes are involved.