How to Identify A Grieving Child
How to Identify A Grieving Child
Loss has an impact on all individuals both young and old, child or adult. The very first impact is always grief. However, some people fail to identify that a child also grieves the loss of their loved ones. I did some research to find out how to identify a grieving child and I hope this post would enlighten you.
The emotional; is displayed with the child’s symptoms of sadness, anger, guilt, or numbness. The child may develop a fear of losing other people close to them, or fear of themselves also dying. As a result of this fear, the child will be clingy to the individuals closest to them. They might also be reluctant to go to school.
Anger is another emotional symptom that a child could show. In most cases, it is portrayed towards the deceased. The child would ask why they had to leave and why the deceased did not consider going with them. Some of the children who are told that the deceased went to heaven tend to be angry at God for taking away someone they loved.
The children who struggle with guilt are those who view that their last encounter with the deceased had a role to play in their death. They are constantly using the phrase ” If I had done this, maybe they would have not died”. It might have been a good or a bad last encounter but in most instances, it’s usually a phase where the child regrets not having done something.
Physical; The child could either be hyperactive as a way of channeling their emotions or they could be underactive when dealing with sad emotions. Therefore it is important to pay attention to find out how their play behavior has changed.
They could experience physical symptoms such as headaches, diarrhea, stomachaches, and problems when swallowing food.
The child could also return to former developmental traits such as bedwetting a psychological process called regression. At this point, a caregiver might not understand why they are bedwetting all over again. However, it is important to remain calm, patient, and understanding.
Behavioral; The behavioral symptoms would show in how they handle their everyday life activities.
Some children show a lot of forgetfulness as they run errands, some of them show struggle in studies, where a child who was performing starts getting poor grades.They also might start acting out in school, showing traits like truancy. They also show a level of disorganization that they might not have had before.
Some children report feeling restless and feeling of panic. They no longer have trust and worry about everything. To get them to a stability level, the caregiver is to constantly reassure them that they are safe and that the caregiver would take care of them
Social; The social life of children is also affected. They tend to withdraw from activities that they used to enjoy before. They do not want to engage with friends, or go for play dates rather they want to be alone and isolated. Grief processing at times might need some alone time, however, if the caregiver deems that it’s turning into a pattern of isolation then it is not healthy.
The child can also become sensitive to issues that touch on subjects involving the given loss. For example, when a child who has lost a parent is requested to inform a parent on PTA meetings, they might give harsh feedback that can be considered rude.
Other children and mostly firstborns, can display a high level of maturity and responsibility. They feel the need to fill the space they feel has been left as void. They hide their feelings and emotions and swing into action more than they did before.