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Psychology Q3

Grieving Children

QuestionAnswer
Preschoolers: 2-6 yrs What do they understand? - world is magical - little concept of time - day-to-day needs - cared for by family - limited vocabulary - speak in symbolic language - imitate - sensitive to nonverbal communication
Preschoolers: 2-6 yrs What about death? - do not understand finality of death - dead person will come back - "dead" means a change in physical condition but deceased still eats & drinks, etc
Preschoolers: 2-6 yrs What to expect? - may not look affected by the death, since they expect person to come back - connect unrelated events - ask indirect questions to find out if someone else will die - feel the sadness or anxiety of people around them - feel responsible - literal
Preschoolers: 2-6 yrs What to say or do? - use concrete terms - do not use avoidance words (ex "passed away") - choose words that do not leave open a hope of return - explain difference between old & sick vs just "sick" - look for any "I did it" thoughts
6-9 yrs What do they understand? - understand many words, but some may be confusing - magical thinking - feeling of power & control of their thoughts & wishes - more developed sense of time
6-9 yrs What about death? - death is personified as ghost or boogeyman - begin to understand finality & irreversibility of death - may fear death is contagious
6-9 yrs What to expect? - preoccupied w/ death "stalking" a person - may be treated as an outsider by peers - phrases & rhymes may trigger fears/thoughts about death - may act silly or laugh - feel anger, fear, guilt - ask indirect questions concerning their fears
6-9 yrs What to say or do? - explain what "dead" is - encourage talking about the dead person, relive happy times & sad times with that person - communicate that it is ok to cry, feel bad, be afraid, etc - read books about death - play & draw
9-12 yrs What do they understand? - more adult thinking; more life experience - some magical thinking - better communication skills - strong sense of right & wrong -- punishment/consequences - becoming their own person; have their own standards
9-12 yrs What about death? - understand finality & irreversibility - have own ideas & theories about why it occurs - death may be punishment for bad behavior - beyond wondering what death is to wondering about their changed relationship to the dead person - ceremony & ritual
9-12 yrs What to expect? - may still have "I did it" thinking but won't admit - ask many direct questions - act grown up but don't want to seem different - concerned with "how should I act/what do I say" - may be mature in their thinking but regress emotionally - commemorate
9-12 yrs What to say or do? be prepared to answer all factual questions -- key to their understanding - anticipate their feelings & make yourself available - get books & read together - guide them as to how to act & what to say - commemorate the dead person
Teenagers What do they understand? - aware of themselves & out to prove themselves - more critical, philosophize & daydream - more aware of their own bodily changes & seeing natural progression of age process
Teenagers What about death? - understand death is final, irreversible & universal - death is "natural enemy" -- an outrage to self
Teenagers What to expect? - many strong feelings & reactions: outrage, disbelief, anger, guilt, sadness - changeable reactions - strong concern with image - much denial - physical distress - compulsive behavior
Teenagers What to say or do? - make more effort to understand their feelings & help them work through grief - guide them in "what is expected," "what is their role," "how to handle emotions" - watch for signs where outside professional help is needed
- world is magical - little concept of time - day-to-day needs - cared for by family - limited vocabulary - speak in symbolic language - imitate - sensitive to nonverbal communication 2-6 yrs
- do not understand finality of death - dead person will come back - "dead" means a change in physical condition but deceased still eats & drinks, etc 2-6 yrs
- may not look affected by the death, since they expect person to come back - connect unrelated events - ask indirect questions to find out if someone else will die - feel the sadness or anxiety of people around them - feel responsible - literal 2-6 yrs
- use concrete terms - do not use avoidance words (ex "passed away") - choose words that do not leave open a hope of return - explain difference between old & sick vs just "sick" - look for any "I did it" thoughts 2-6 yrs
- understand many words, but some may be confusing - magical thinking - feeling of power & control of their thoughts & wishes - more developed sense of time 6-9 yrs
- death is personified as ghost or boogeyman - begin to understand finality & irreversibility of death - may fear death is contagious 6-9 yrs
- preoccupied w/ death "stalking" a person - may be treated as an outsider by peers - phrases & rhymes may trigger fears/thoughts about death - may act silly or laugh - feel anger, fear, guilt - ask indirect questions concerning their fears 6-9 yrs
- explain what "dead" is - encourage talking about the dead person, relive happy times & sad times with that person - communicate that it is ok to cry, feel bad, be afraid, etc - read books about death - play & draw 6-9 yrs
- more adult thinking; more life experience - some magical thinking - better communication skills - strong sense of right & wrong -- punishment/consequences - becoming their own person; have their own standards 9-12 yrs
- understand finality & irreversibility - have own ideas & theories about why it occurs - death may be punishment for bad behavior - beyond wondering what death is to wondering about their changed relationship to the dead person - ceremony & ritual 9-12 yrs
- may still have "I did it" thinking but won't admit - ask many direct questions - act grown up but don't want to seem different - concerned with "how should I act/what do I say" - may be mature in their thinking but regress emotionally - commemorate 9-12 yrs
be prepared to answer all factual questions -- key to their understanding - anticipate their feelings & make yourself available - get books & read together - guide them as to how to act & what to say - commemorate the dead person 9-12 yrs
- aware of themselves & out to prove themselves - more critical, philosophize & daydream - more aware of their own bodily changes & seeing natural progression of age process teenagers
- understand death is final, irreversible & universal - death is "natural enemy" -- an outrage to self teenagers
- many strong feelings & reactions: outrage, disbelief, anger, guilt, sadness - changeable reactions - strong concern with image - much denial - physical distress - compulsive behavior teenagers
- make more effort to understand their feelings & help them work through grief - guide them in "what is expected," "what is their role," "how to handle emotions" - watch for signs where outside professional help is needed teenagers
Created by: leahmurphy