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On the last track we discussed the responsibilities of therapists regarding clients grieving the death of children from SIDS. We also discussed the 6 common features of filicide. The 6 common features of filicide are first children, aged less than 7 months, suffering from seizures or apnea, recent hospital discharge, time of death, and mothers who smoke.
On the next three tracks we will discuss the five challenges of a grieving child. They are security, understanding death, mourning death, staying connected, and resuming childhood. As we explore these five challenges that grieving children face, we will also discuss how grief counselors and parents can help grieving kids meet these challenges.
On this track we will discuss the first of the five challenges of a grieving child. The first of the five challenges of a grieving child that we will discuss is security. We will also explore the four methods for reestablishing security. The four methods are actively manage the level of change in the child’s life, actively increase the level of predictability in the child’s life, deal with any of the child’s health concerns, and increase the child’s feelings of control.
Since the accident, Stacy has asked her mom, Carol, each morning, "So mom, what’s the plan for today?" When Carol asked me why, I stated, "Stacy has a need to know exactly what’s happening in order to feel safe again. She needs to know what and whom to trust. Stacy’s assumptions about how the world works have been destroyed. Now she approaches life more tentatively, wondering, ‘What can I count on? Who can I trust?’"
Technique: Worry About Yourself
The "Worry About Yourself" technique is very simple. Parents simply project a comfortable feeling that everything is going to be fine. Because Carol was also grieving the loss of the rest of her family she asked, "How am I supposed to be calm when my whole world has been blown up, too?"
Here are a few of the steps Carol discovered to help her reestablish security. As you listen to these parent’s suggestions, decide if a family member you are currently treating may benefit from hearing these suggestions.
-- Step 3 - "I'm Better Prepared."
Think of your Carol. Could she or he help her or his child feel a stronger sense of security by using the "Worry About Yourself" technique?
#2 The Four Methods for Reestablishing Security
As I list these four methods, evaluate the parent of a grieving client you are counseling to find out if he or she could benefit from trying any of these four methods.
Method 1 - Actively Manage the Level of Change in the Child’s Life.
Do you agree that by maintaining discipline levels parents can help kids return to a normal state?
Method 2 - Actively Increase the Level of Predictability in the Child’s Life.
Method 3 - Dealing with any of the Child’s Health Concerns.
Method 4 - Increase the Child’s Feelings of Control.
Think of your Stacy. Could her sense of security be restored by a combination of these methods?
On this track we have discussed the first of the five challenges of a grieving child. The first of the five challenges of a grieving child that we have discussed is security. We also explored the four methods for reestablishing security. The four methods are actively manage the level of change in the child’s life, actively increase the level of predictability in the child’s life, deal with any of the child’s health concerns, and increase the child’s feelings of control.
Working with Grieving Children After Violent Death
- Young, Ph.D., J. D. Marlene A. Working with Grieving Children After Violent Death: A Guide for Crime Victim. Office Victims of Crime, August 1996, p. 7-83.
On the next track we will discuss the second and third challenges of a grieving child. They are understanding death and mourning death. We will also discuss the Grasping Reality technique and how to play Feelings Football, which is a technique for parents who need to help their children mourn..
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Grolnick, W. S., Schonfeld, D. J., Schreiber, M., Cohen, J., Cole, V., Jaycox, L., Lochman, J., Pfefferbaum, B., Ruggiero, K., Wells, K., Wong, M., & Zatzick, D. (2018). Improving adjustment and resilience in children following a disaster: Addressing research challenges. American Psychologist, 73(3), 215–229.
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