When a parent dies…

How the individual or the children who will be the subject of our article perceive the concept of death is closely related to their cognitive and social development.
The acceptability of the concepts of “old age-death”, which are usually in the minds of children and even us adults, can be caused by various diseases, accidents, etc., brought about by the modern age. This makes it necessary for us to deal with death in a wide range of reasons other than the concept of old age and to be prepared for “untimely” deaths. Although the concept of death and the loss of relatives cause traumatic consequences for everyone, it means the demolition of one of the sheltered walls in which children are sheltered.

Perceptions of death and attitudes, of course, vary according to age.

Especially in the 0-1 age period, the loss of the mother can inevitably cause problems in the physiological, psychological and social development of the baby, as it inhibits the spiritual and physical intimacy between the mother and the child. Especially considering the role of the mother in the development of the sense of trust, the importance of this loss for the baby becomes evident.

The situation is slightly different in the 3-5 age period. Around the age of 3-4, the child cannot perceive that the deceased person has disappeared permanently and irreversibly. Therefore, children of this age do not experience an overreaction due to the loss of a parent. Around the age of 5, the truth about the gradually disappearing parent begins to become clearer. The idea of ​​being separated forever from an adult with whom there is a love bond can cause uneasiness in the child. The main reason behind this feeling is the fear of being alone.

At the age of 6-10, the concept of death begins to be perceived much more clearly. School, kindergarten, etc. of children around 6 years old. The expansion of their social environment, as well as the expansion of their social environment, distinguishes the difference between themselves and other children and leads them to perceive the current situation clearly. In children aged 9-10, death can be described more easily in terms of quantity and causality. In this period, the truth about the deceased person can be explained to the child much more easily. If the cause of death is explained to the child in a real and simple language, it will be easier for him to comprehend the event, to get rid of the idea that death is a punishment given to him, and to struggle with the feeling of guilt.

Contrary to popular belief, explaining the death to children as simply and as realistically as possible comforts both the surviving parent and the child. The reality of death will make it easier for the child to mourn and adapt to life much faster than a fairy tale narrative.

To the children, “he is now in the sky…” for the deceased, “looking at us from the stars.”, “God is sleeping next to the Father.” Making such statements may lead to unexpected thoughts and behaviors in their rich fantasy world. A child who has not grasped that death is an irreversible process and is caught in the idea of ​​a “comfortable and peaceful place” hidden in such discourses may attempt to go to the same star himself. For this reason, although it is a more difficult way, death should be explained to children in a simple way, without being frightening and with well-chosen sentences.

When the child is to be told about the loss of a relative, it is useful to have a place outside the home where the conversation will take place. Places where you can be alone with nature are ideal, because even a dry leaf or a dead insect gives you opportunities to sample the subject.

During or after the speech, the child’s emotional discharge and crying should be understood, and should not be tried to silence or gloss over the issue. In fact, the fact that the parent who makes the speech experiences his feelings without exaggeration and can cry will strengthen the emotional bond between him and the child. We must not forget that “not crying” does not mean being strong.

The person who lost his relatives is faced with some emotional states. Generally, most of these processes are not experienced in small age groups or although they are short-lived, they may differ in each person according to individual characteristics. Usually the first process; shock and numbness is. In this stage, the person cannot put death on the person he has lost and rejects the existing situation. Although the situation is around him with all its reality, he has difficulty in perceiving and generally avoids facing the reality. At this stage, it is seen that some adults and even children do not cry. Although this situation is described as “strength” in some cultures, it actually means that the person cannot fully face reality. It is a stage where the surviving parent should be understanding and give time to their child, considering that death can be accepted gradually.

Second process; denial and rejection is It is the emotional state that emerges after the initial shock has been overcome. Denying death, denying everything that evokes death are the most common attitudes.

Third process; longing, resentment, and anger is still. Naturally, many experiences related to the lost parent have remained in our memory. From cheerful conversations at the breakfast table in the morning to a movie going together, to a vacation, everything reminds of a lost parent. The child may want to look at the pictures of the missing parent and watch the videos taken with him, although it makes many adults nervous. Contrary to popular belief, there is no harm in this and it can reduce the longing of the child.

However, at this stage, the child who is together with children who have not lost their parents at school or on the street will ask, “Why me?” They may feel anger and anger, especially in boys, kicking, shoving, hurting their friends, and crying without reason in girls, as well as being angry with Allah for taking their loved ones and at other adults for not preventing them.

The fourth process; sadness and despair type. Generally, in this period, some attitudes and behaviors emerge depending on how the surviving parent conducts the process. If the process is well-executed, the child reflects his/her sadness acceptably, but otherwise, he/she may express his/her sadness in the form of withdrawing from others and withdrawing. The most common behavior is crying for no reason. They also tend to deny that their crying is about the lost parent. In this stage, since the child is in the stage of accepting the truth, he is in a period where his expectation of “the return of the lost parent” is lost, and in parallel, his anger and anger increase.

The fifth and final process is; reconstruction is. It is the stage of clinging to life, in which emotions can be expressed most easily and the truth about the deceased is accepted. It will be better for the child to visit the cemetery at this stage.

Human and especially child psychology can be exposed to negative effects in every traumatic event it is exposed to. This is natural. However, the human organism is so strong that; Whatever the situation we are in, every process carried out by taking appropriate measures and adopting the right approaches can ensure that these negative effects are eliminated and that they do not leave a trace in the depths of the personality. For this reason, instead of taking approaches that may have negative effects on the child’s personality, it is useful to consult a specialist and get help when you feel inadequate.

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