This article deals with the effects of loss on children of both a primary and secondary nature. Events such as the death of a parent or friend and the resulting consequences can be difficult for a child to deal with, depending on what stage they are at developmentally. Other losses such as personal possessions, those resulting from abuse or a sudden change in a child’s life can also be difficult (Goldman, 2004). The author also discusses, according to Piaget’s developmental theory, how children deal with loss.
Younger children can often have trouble understanding why a loved one died may connect an event to the death that is not even related. Older children are curious as to the events and reasons for the loss, tending to seek answers as to why the death occurred. It is recommended that when speaking to children about death, an age-appropriate explanation should be used. Children need to have information that clearly defines specific type of death that has occurred, such as a murderer or an accident
(Goldman, 2004). To help children effectively cope with a sudden loss, Goldman proffers several options that can be productive. Having a team that focuses on supporting the child can be very beneficial to bereavement counseling. This team has members from: the family, school and includes the counselor. The team assesses exactly what losses have occurred to the child and what developmental stage the child is at. Based on this information, the team can set up a plan for supporting the child (2004).
Other methods that can be used to help the child include helping the family communicate about the death, support groups, play therapy and focusing on early intervention. The author stresses the importance of having an all-around knowledge of the circumstances and that considering the consequences that the loss will have on a child’s whole life experience (Goldman, 2004). References Goldman, Linda. (2004). Counseling with children within contemporary society. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, Volume 26, no. 2, 168-187.
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