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Helping a child cope with grief

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posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 02:38 PM
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This is my first experience with this type of situation, and I'm hoping some members here can give me an idea as to how to deal with this.
My son is 11 years old..and the only time death has ever been around him is when his grandfather past away when he was 3..so he was very young and did not understand.
Today he came home from school with horrible news.
One of his best friends from school..whom he plays with daily...had a terrible accident while on vacation with his Family.
They were swimming at a beach in Cuba, when the young boy got into trouble after swimming out too far. His father swam out to save him, but instead, sadly..the father drowned. My son's friend is in a hospital in Cuba, apparently still unconscious, but will recover.
There have been grief counselors sent in for the students to help deal with this event.
But my question is..how can I counsel my son in the best way to approach his friend upon his return.
I fear the guilt as well as grief might be very overwhelming and I'm sure he needs to know his friends are there for him.
It's just that children deal with grief differently I think, and I'm really not sure what to say to him.




posted on Apr, 2 2010 @ 11:13 AM
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One of the ways religion can be a good thing...it provides answers for one to cope with loss. Not sure what faith, if any, you ascribe to, but that could be one answer...

If no particular faith, or spiritual idea, there is always the fact that our loved ones live on, in our hearts and minds...

At least in this case, the friend that he personally knew, survived... Did the child know his friend's father?

You may even want to do some quick online research in grief counseling. After all, it's great that we can use these tools these days...so put them to work...


Sometimes, things just happen...and the good, cannot exist without the flip side...



posted on Apr, 2 2010 @ 11:36 AM
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Sorry to hear that. I'm definitely no expert, but I think it's one of those times where the best thing you can do is just encourage him (without pushing) to open up to you about it and tell you what he's feeling. I think you have enough experience with parenting in general to know where to take it from there - likely what will come out of it is him letting you know what he needs from you.

When he's with his friend, the best thing he can do is the same thing. If he's up to it and can be available for his friend, let the friend talk when he's ready, with minimal commentary beyond affirmation and acknowledgment.

The first week or two is a definite shock factor. There'll be more attention than he probably wants. It's a month later and well beyond when it'll be really bad for the boy. That's when a friend is invaluable.



posted on Apr, 2 2010 @ 11:59 AM
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Thanks for the replies.
I have been encouraging him to talk if he needs to.
No, he wasn't acquainted with his friends father.
My concern is when his friend returns..kinda coaching him on the best way to react to his friends emotions.
I suppose it works the same way..just encourage him to speak if he needs to..but don't push.
Poor kid. I can't imagine how devastated he must be.



posted on Apr, 2 2010 @ 04:15 PM
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Seems to me you already know what to do "let him talk if he wants -- but don't push". Parent's who shy away from talking about this kind of thing with their children only succeed in leaving them alone to cope, and often their coping strategies are not the best.

Don't baby him too much either. Be honest. If he wants to go to the funeral, let him go. He will let you know what he needs, and I have no doubt you will handle it appropriately. In times like this children let you know what they need. You can read his behavior. If the behavior changes (too quiet, or too troubled) then you offer to talk, and it's okay to do a monologue, if you must. He's listening.

...And the two boys together will find their own path to cope. My guess is the other boy will find relief in being with someone his own age following this tragic event.

I hope the boy won't have medical problems after this, AD....if he is still unconscious after this near-drowning event, he might very well be facing some changes. Let's hope not. If so, your son will have to be prepared for this, but I imagine the school will have counselors to talk with them if that is the case.

So sad for a boy this age to lose his father. At the very least, it will be unlikely if this child doesn't have some symptoms of survivor's guilt, considering the circumstances.



[edit on 4/2/2010 by ladyinwaiting]



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