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When the child does not accept the death of the father or mother

When the child does not accept the death of the father or mother



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The death of one of the parents is one of the most traumatic events that a child can face. How to tell a child that their parent has passed away and help them cope with and overcome such a difficult loss.

What children understand about death depends a lot on their age, but also on their way of being, (personality) and their previous experiences. Emotional expressions, sadness, and coping attitudes also vary with age. Explaining the death of a father or mother to a child is not easy, and how we do it can influence how they cope, in what is known as "grief."

We can understand grief as an adaptive process that occurs after the death of a loved one. Grief involves:

- Accept the reality of death: that is, to assume that the deceased person will not live any longer, that we will not see them, that they will not return.

- Work on the emotions associated with the loss.

- Learn to live in a world in which the deceased person is absent.

- Emotionally relocate the deceased person.

Grief in children is not the same as in adults, so answering their doubts and questions, allowing them to express themselves emotionally, maintaining their routines, having social and family support to guide them through the process and help them manage grief is very important for the little ones.

We adults tend to want to protect children from such an event, and in an attempt to avoid suffering for them, we may delay the news or deliver it in a way that children may not understand very much what has happened.

It is important that the news comes from a loved one, that it be as soon as possible, that let's answer the children's questions, that we assume that they do not have to express pain like us, adults, (they may not cry, but it does not mean that they do not feel it), adapt to their age and what they can understand, try not to expose them to episodes or situations too intense.

Children can respond to loss in various ways, including: guilt, anger, or denial among others. It usually appears from the age of 6, and it is normal for children and adolescents to refuse to accept this reality. Denial is a way of coping with something that is not understood or accepted. The child may fantasize about the deceased person, talk about him or her in the present tense, or continue to wait for the person in question despite knowing that he or she will not return. May also manifest aggressive behaviors, or an excessive humor. This is a sign that you are grieving deeply and need to express what you are feeling.

Therefore, when one of the parents dies, when the child mourns, there is a possible lack of understanding of the death process and a lack of resources to express what they feel.

Some warning signs that we can see in children and that should be attended to by a professional are:

- Somatizations.

- Anxiety problems that alter sleep, eating or nervousness in your daily activities.

- Bad mood and constant aggressiveness, even assaults on their peers.

- Depressive symptoms that persist longer than expected: sleep problems, regression to previous stages, apathy, loss of interest in things that previously interested them, loss of social interest.

- Difficulties to reintegrate into the academic field: refusal to go to school or fear to face the day to day in class or their classmates.

- Concentration problems that you did not have before and that continue, affecting your daily activities.

- Drop in school performance or interest in academic activities,

- Prolonged and inappropriate fears of their age.

- Separation anxiety and fear that attachment figures will die too.

In the face of any change that occurs, it is important to consult with a professional who will guide and advise us on how to manage the grieving process at home, not only for the child, but also for the adults facing the child.

You can read more articles similar to When the child does not accept the death of the father or mother, in the category of Death on site.


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