13. November 2010 00:00
When children lose someone through death, be it a family member or friend, they inevitably face a whirlwind of emotions. During this confusing time, children need the love and support of those around them to cope with their loss. Books for them to read and for their parents to read can be of value as well. Additionally, in some cases, the supportive assistance from a counseling professional will be beneficial as the child moves toward constructive grief resolution.
The primary benefit of counseling is that it provides the child with an opportunity to tell his or her story to a trained professional who knows how to listen and respond appropriately to the feelings and emotions presented in the narrative. Talking to children about death must be geared to their developmental level, respectful of their cultural norms, and sensitive to their capacity to understand. Knowledgeable counselors take all these factors into consideration when developing a strategy to help guide a child through the grieving process.
Moreover, an experienced counselor can do an assessment, and suggest whether group or individual counseling will be more helpful. For some children, being with peers that have experienced the same thing will be a great comfort and will help them learn coping skills. For others, a more individualized approach may be needed in order for the child to cope with his or her grief effectively.
Whether it’s individual or group counseling, as soon as the child seems to need more than what the family and friends can offer, it is time to consider seeking professional help. If nothing else, a trained counselor will be able to provide advice on techniques and strategies that will be the most helpful to the child in your life.