Notifying a Child of Death

The closest person should give the news of death to the child. Support can be obtained from an expert on how to explain death, but the narration should not be left to the expert. If the child has lost one of the parents, it would be appropriate for the other parent to make this statement. There should be an environment where the child will feel safe while giving the news. ‘I will give you sad news.’ By saying, the child is prepared for the situation and an explanation is made. It is not necessary to tell the child about death suddenly. The shock she will experience can freeze the grieving process. The event of death should be explained in stages along with its causes. The explanation of the loss should not be delayed.

What to Do After Loss

After the news of the disappearance is given, the process of the funeral should be explained to the child. After the process is explained, he should be asked whether he wants to attend the funeral, whether he is ready for the grave visit, and if he does not want to, he should not be forced.

Attending the funeral is a symbolic farewell for the child. Finding the opportunity to experience intense emotions with the relatives at the funeral also prevents the person from feeling alone. The possibility of future depression is seen less in children who attend the funeral, see the pictures of the deceased expressing their anger at death, and visit the grave (Koç, 2003). Participation in the funeral ceremony facilitates the concretization of death, which is an abstract concept, in the child’s mind. Participation in the ceremony can provide an opportunity to talk with the child about death. Particularly after the age of 7, it is recommended that the child attend the funeral ceremonies in order to learn about death, which is one of the facts of life. The ‘abduction’ of children from their own home or cemetery during the funeral, and the encouragement of exaggerated play or entertainment by adults at that time may cause the child to develop a sense of guilt about the death of the parent and complicate the grief (Ürer, 2017). Regular grave visits have a positive effect on healing.

After the loss, it is of great importance that the child quickly returns to his daily routine at school, at home and in the social environment. While death is a big change for the child, going through different changes and changing the house he lives in, taking a long break from school increases his faltering. During this period, the long-term separation of adults from children increases their anxiety. Providing information about how the loss will affect the child’s daily life, who will meet his needs and care will allow the child to organize his life after the loss, to accept the loss and live the mourning process in a healthier way (Bildik 2013).

Children should be allowed to talk about death and ask questions. Constant questioning should be answered patiently without criticism. Events should be told without any changes each time. If he doesn’t want to talk, he shouldn’t be forced. Making the death at home mysterious, not talking about it at all and acting as if such a loss did not occur makes death more interesting for the child. It is wrong to pretend that children are strong and in no pain, so that they are not affected by death. Not talking about death at all causes both emotional healing inhibition and a feeling of insecurity in the child.

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