Grief and Its Long-Term Impact on Children

Grief and Its Long-Term Impact on Children

  admin   |    June 30, 2022

Adolescence is a period where a child is undergoing a lot of changes, both bodily and socio-emotionally. Children when they reach the period of adolescence suffer, not only the wrath of adapting to the perils of puberty but also dealing with the troubles of finding their own identity and fitting into a peer group. Teenagers have a very hard time adapting with those around them, especially the one’s older to them. The prospect of having someone tell them that what they want to do is wrong is something they cannot fathom and tolerate, and hence, rebel. This blog gives an insight into teenage rebellion and how it can be managed.

Grief and Its Long-Term Impact on Children

Grief is often a feeling that we as adults too wish to run away from, even after years of having to face the trauma of losing someone near and dear, this feeling is something none of us can wrap your head around. For a child, this concept is not even developed in terms of identification and understanding of grief, hence, there is no way in which we can expect our children to know effective ways of dealing with grief when we have not found those techniques ourselves. To then expect our child to deal with the grief as soon as it happens is not only unrealistic, but it is also not fair to the child. As a parent it is very important to know the signs that the child might show when they are grieving. It is extremely imperative that we as parents keep a keen eye out on our child’s grief symptoms and figure out when it might be time to get them help. Some of the signs that we must keep an eye out for are as follows.

1. Developmental Regression:

The child may start wetting the bed like he/ she used to previously or not sleep at all through the night. They may also regress to babbling or cooing or regress to the developmental milestone before the one they were on.

2. Academic Issues:

A child in his or her early school years or even in the teenage years may express their grief by not paying attention to their classroom curriculum and may start failing a class they were otherwise doing very well in. This is another huge tell that the child is dealing with grief and needs to be looked into immediately.

3. Anxiety:

Once a child learns about the death of someone close to them, they might start expressing intense worry and fear related to the loss of someone else around them and this fear may take over their daily functioning and impact their life in various avenues.

4. Feelings of abandonment:

A child may start feeling betrayed, isolated, abandoned by the person who has passed away and may also start believing that everyone else around him or her will also leave and that they will be all alone in the world. How can we then help our child cope and deal with grief, so that even if the pain stays, they are able to function in the real world effectively. Here are some ideas.

1. Be honest: As 21st century parents, we are more aware as to what are the good things to say to our child and what is not. In times of grief, or when we lose someone close to us it is very important that we remain honest and upfront with our child. Hiding something from them or lying to them may have impeding implications on their understanding of loss and dealing with it in the future.

2. Tell them it is okay to feel bad: It is important to affirm the child’s feelings of sadness and grief as it is very important for the child to feel the emotions he or she is feeling, because if the emotions go unacknowledged and unfelt, they will be carried over to other situations and hence, they may not be able to find the most effective outlet for their expression.

3. Be patient: It is very important for us as parents to not lose our cool with the child. Grief is obviously there for you, and it is not something that is being taken away, but for the child, it is something more unknown and unfelt before, hence being more patient and available, either by spending time with the child in doing activities which they would enjoy or to just be there and talk to them is very important.

Losing someone close to us is never easy and it will never get easy, but time will heal us and we will find our way to live with the loss and return to normalcy, hence it is very important that we extend the same feeling to our children, who might be struggling with the loss more than we are able to recognise initially. But when we do it should be our topmost priority to help the child cope with the grief.

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