~ Myths About Children & Grief ~
There are many myths regarding grief. The focus
on grief is often on the adults, however, children, even infants, can be
affected by a death or a loss. The Hospice Foundation of America
and the TLC Group have summarized several
of the various myths surrounding children and grief. Myths regarding adults
and grief can be found in the General Information
section under Myths about Grief.
1. Children do not grieve.
Children of all ages grieve. The
childís development and experiences affects the grieving process.
2. The death of a loved one is the only major
loss children and adolescents experience.
Young people experience a variety of
losses. These include losses of pets, separations caused by divorce
or relocations, losses of friends and relationships, as well as losses
due to illness or death. All of these losses generate grief.
3. Children should be shielded from loss.
Itís impossible to protect children from
loss. Adults can teach ways of adapting to loss by including young
people in the grieving process.
4. Children should not go to funerals.
Children should always attend funerals.
Allow young people to make their own
choice. They should decide how they wish to participate in funerals
or other services. Adults must provide information, options and support.
5. Children get over loss quickly.
No one gets over significant loss.
Children, like adults, will learn to live with the loss. They may
revisit that loss at different points in their lives and experience grief
6. Children are permanently scarred by loss.
Children are resilient. By providing
solid support and strong consistent care, adults can help children cope
7. Talking with children and adolescents
is the most effective approach in dealing with loss.
Different approaches are helpful to young
people. Itís important to talk openly with children and adolescents; itís
also helpful to let young people use creative approaches. Play,
art, dance, music, and ritual are all valuable modes of expression that
allow them to say what words cannot.
8. Helping children and adolescents deal
with loss is the familyís responsibility.
Other individuals and organizations can
share this responsibility. Hospices, schools, and faith communities
can all offer necessary support.
More Myths of Children's
Myth 1. Children Don't Grieve
Children grieve all losses in spurts,
several times a day.
Myth 2. Children Experience Few Losses
They re-grieve throughout all developmental stages.
Children don't know they're grieving or understand
Children experiences losses on a daily
Myth 3. Childhood is the Happiest Time of One's
At School: Sports, grades, competitions,
self esteem, relationships.
Control, understanding, dysfunctional family losses.
One of seven loses a parent to death before age
A child will go through six developmental
stages between birth and age 21.
TLC Group grants anyone the right to
use this information without compensation so long as the copy is not used
for profit or as training materials in a profit making activity such as
workshops, lectures, and seminars, and so long as this paragraph is retained
in its entirety.
Each stage is marked by a period of continuous
change in cognition, feelings, and physical development.
Almost every area of life through each developmental
stage is totally controlled by circumstances outside of the influence of
Hospice Foundation of America.
Eight Myths About Children and Loss. Available at: http://www.hospicefoundation.org/8myths.htm.
TLC Group. Three Myths of Children's
Grief. Circa ? 1970's. Various Internet sources. (Unfortunately we have not been able to
track down the original source.)
and adolescents are not immune to facing loss, death, dying and grief;
they encounter loss and
experience a grief response.
Kirsti A. Dyer,
See the Emergency
911 Page for links to immediate resources
if you are feeling helpless,
hopeless, overwhelmingly depressed, or suicidal.
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