Death and mourning in children

Perhaps the first of the most difficult issues to accept; is death. Despite being included in the normal cycle of human life, we all run away at the point of confrontation. Especially for children, it is a serious issue that is both traumatic and requires a level of cognitive maturity to comprehend. Not being able to give correct responses and not knowing what to do increases the damage to the child. It would be best to divide this process into 3 according to the developmental periods.

Concept of death before age 5:

During this period, children with concrete thinking may perceive death as a reversible event. There are no concepts of age related to death. They don’t think it’s the end of life. They may associate old age with death, but they do not realize that it is possible to live at a young age. They may have imaginary inferences that they can bring back the dead.

The concept of death between the ages of 5-10:

The child, who makes the transition from the concrete period to the abstract period, can understand that death is an end. This understanding takes place after the age of 7. Up to the age of 7, he usually associates death with old age. In order for them to accept and cope with death, take them to the funeral, give age-appropriate information about the process and visit the cemetery.

The concept of death at the age of 10 and adolescence:

In this period, he can comprehend that death can happen to a person in any situation and age because he has reached the necessary cognitive maturity. Their reaction to death resulting from this maturity is severe. Since it is an abstract and mystical subject, they start to feel anxious and anxious in case it happens on their own.

After death, shock, denial, fear, unresponsiveness, and reactions as if nothing had happened are observed in children. Over time, anxiety, vivid memories, sleep problems, decreased school performance, physical disorders, and psychosomatic complaints may develop.

Hiding the event of death from the child, sudden death, not allowing the child to say goodbye by not taking the child to the funeral, and not taking care of the child in case of loss of parents are among the factors that will complicate the process.

Suggestions to explain death to the child and facilitate the next process;

Giving the news of death to parents or someone emotionally close

Speak clearly and simply, avoiding abstract explanations in young children

Being patient, answering the child’s questions as realistically as possible

Give the child time to perceive and accept the situation.

Not to restrain the child while experiencing his feelings. For example, if she cries often, you can hug her and share her pain instead of suppressing it.

Adults’ overreactions in the presence of the child will make the process more difficult for the child.

The child may not want to sleep alone or not want to sleep in the dark. Let them do this for a while, but point out that the process is temporary.

Children who lose parents at a young age are anxious about who will take care of them. You can make their new life easier by reducing their anxiety.

In order to explain that death is a natural ecological balance, you can introduce him to animals at a young age and adopt him. The child who has experienced the first loss there may perceive the concept of death more easily. Stay healthy..

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