Grief in children and their difference with that of parents

Adapting to a new situation after a hard trance is not easy. The death of a loved one, the farewell of friends for a change of their own or of these and many examples could be put on how sometimes you have to face tough times. The time it takes to recover a person from these contexts is known as duel.

A process that goes through different common phases in all people but that is not the same in adults as in children. The little ones in the house do not understand concepts like death nor are they emotionally prepared to face these situations. Understanding how children lose their emotional loss can allow more complete help.


Abstract concepts

Adults and children are the same in the duel while in both cases one of the most stressful events in a person's life is lived. Each individual needs a variable time for recovery, as they explain from the Hospital de la Paz in Madrid. In the case of children this process can become slower since some concepts are abstract.

An example is death. Until 3 or 4 years there is a relative ignorance of the meaning of death and is not considered as something definitive. Children confuse death with sleeping. By age 4, the death of a loved one continues to be seen as a temporary and reversible event, and the dead would have biological feelings and functions. Minors think that a reunion is possible in the future, so they do not start the grieving phase.


In the case of children, the mourning phase, whether due to the death of a loved one or farewell to a friend, can be divided into following:

- Protest The child does not understand what has happened and why he cries for it, understands that this situation can be reversible.

- Hopelessness The child understands that no matter how angry he shows, he can not do anything. This period is marked by a high apathy as it can not control this situation.

- Rupture of the link. Although the child does not forget his loved one, he begins to eliminate this dependency and to understand that it is possible to move forward.

Help the child in the process of grieving

While children must go through the grieving process without skipping any of the phases, as everyone has to do, parents can help by clarifying some of the ideas and preventing the child from getting stuck in some of these moments:


- Remember that he is not to blame. Both in the death of a loved one and in other farewells, children may feel that they have had some responsibility. Parents should indicate that this is not the case and that there are situations that they can not control.

- You also have to have fun. A tense moment in the children, and that is accentuated in adolescents, is to feel guilt when at the end of the duel they begin to have a good time. Parents should remember that they also have the right to enjoy and that nothing bad happens to rebuild a life.

- Stay physically and emotionally close. Children should feel that they have strong support from their loved ones and that if there are times when they fall, they can ask for help.

Damián Montero

Video: Healthcare Conversations: Good Grief, Dr. Jamye Coffman, Cook Children's - Centennial


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