Death: The Importance Of Grief And Loss In Children

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Children experience death in many ways-whether it is a loss of a family member, friend or pet. Death has a tremendous impact on children and often generates what is referred to as a grief reaction (Corr, 2003), they way they respond to a loss. Discussing death with children can be a real concern and many tend to avoid it. Death is however an inevitable part of life and it is our responsibility to ensure our children are aware of it and know it’s okay to discuss it. If we introduce children to the topic of death, we can give them needed information, prepare them for a crisis, and help them when they are upset. Death is very much a part of our lives on many different levels. We may be surprised at how aware children already are about death. They…show more content…
When confronted with a loss children can feel overwhelmed, confused and unable to portray their emotions. As educators, parents and concerned adults, it is our job to ensure that the children under our care have the prior knowledge necessary to help them make sense of the what they experience in the world. Despite our desire to protect them, children will inevitably experience death, grief and loss. Picture books and storytelling are one way to help them gain the knowledge they need to process this difficult event. Harvey and Goudvis (2007) state that 'stories close to children’s own lives and experiences are helpful for introducing new ways ofthinking, Readers naturally make connections between books and their own lives”(92). Making these connections draws the children further into the story, and into the act of relating what is happening in the stories to their own lives. Harvey and Goudvis state, “Human beings are driven to find answers and make sense of the world”(109). By providing rich texts that deal with challenging issues, we help children come to an understanding of death, bereavement and loss. In his work on pet loss in death-related literature, Corr (2003) speaks to the idea that death literature reassures children that, notwithstanding the importance of the losses, life can and does go on (409). Corr also notes that death-related literature can be useful for both bereaved children and those who have not yet experienced a loss in their lives. Death-related literature can guide, educate and support both adults and/or children as they work through the concept or experience of death in their lives
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