Presentation on theme: "Children and Grief Navigating the Challenges Presented by: Stacy Baranowski Eucalyptus Tree Program Coordinator Cedar Valley Hospice Making Each Moment."— Presentation transcript:
Children and Grief Navigating the Challenges Presented by: Stacy Baranowski Eucalyptus Tree Program Coordinator Cedar Valley Hospice Making Each Moment Matter
Only what we tell them. They imagine the rest. Making Each Moment Matter Kids: What do they know?
Age: Under 2 Years Making Each Moment Matter Can sense that something is different Will seek regular caregivers Does not yet understand what death is Probably won’t remember the deceased Needs a lot of nonverbal communication (hugs, smiles, rocking, etc.) Indicators: fussiness, clinginess, regression
Making Each Moment Matter Age: 3 – 5 Years See death as temporary Have difficulty with spiritual concepts Feels sadness in spurts May substitute attachments Need routine and structure; normalcy Indicators: regression, nightmares, aggression, non- compliance
Making Each Moment Matter Age: 5 – 9 Years Begin to understand that death is final and permanent Begins to fear self or others dying May feel guilt or blame self for death May substitute attachments Need routine and structure; normalcy Indicators: compulsive care giving, aggression, possessiveness, regression, headaches, stomachaches, phobias
Making Each Moment Matter Age: Years Recognizes death as final and irreversible May view death as punishment Often curious about the gory details May come up with personal theories Have practical questions about body, funeral, burial, etc. Indicators: aggression, possessiveness, headaches, stomachaches, phobias, defiance
Making Each Moment Matter Age: 13 – 18 Years Nearing adult level of understanding May worry or think about own death Avoid discussions of death Fears “looking different” May question spiritual training and beliefs Often angry at the deceased Indicators: aggression, headaches, stomachaches, phobia, increased risk taking, defiance, suicidal ideation
Forgotten Mourners Making Each Moment Matter Not always allowed participation in formal grief rituals Adults consumed with personal grief Families protect young people from visits to death bed, funeral and burial, disposal of property Prepared children are capable of making decisions that work for them
Magical Thinking Making Each Moment Matter A child’s logic is different Self-induced guilt and sense of responsibility Some guilt caused by belief they could “fix things” May have a belief in evil forces Kids need accurate and complete information. Use language that is clear and concrete.
Re-grieving Making Each Moment Matter Each new developmental stage may cause upsurge Awareness of impact First time realization of finality Needs include validation of normalcy and entitlement, opportunities to talk
Process in play Requires no verbal expertise Often seen playing the death event What looks morbid to us is processing for them Kids need to PLAY, and may need to share thoughts through play with adults Making Each Moment Matter
Grief at School Difficulty concentrating and sitting still May act out anger or guilt regarding the death May make changes in school relationships Looks like ADHD, beware of labels Tell school about significant death 2 years out School staff worried about retelling and calling home Fear accommodations due to fairness, manipulation
Making Each Moment Matter Tasks of Grief for Kids Believe in the reality of the loss Experience the pain Adjust to changes Remember and find new normal This model is one of many models for grief. The Eucalyptus Tree supports the suggestion that children are empowered by moving forward to work toward healing.
Making Each Moment Matter How can we help? Information sharing is key Let them tell you what they need Listen to what they say Include them Allow control with reasonable limits Share your own feelings with them