Saturday, September 19, 2015

Helping Children Cope with Death and Dying

 "As children encounter illness, loss, and grief, they seek to understand the events and make sense of what they’re feeling and experiencing. Whether adults realize it or not, children are aware of death. Most have seen a bird, insect, or animal lying on the ground. They may have seen death on television or in movie, and they hear about it in fairy tales.

As children encounter illness, loss, and grief, they seek to understand the events and make sense of what they’re feeling and experiencing. Whether adults realize it or not, children are aware of death. Most have seen a bird, insect, or animal lying on the ground. They may have seen death on television or in a movie, and they hear about it in fairy tales.
While they may not yet have an adult’s sophistication as they seek answers, they can turn to their beliefs, faith, rituals, and practices to help them gain understanding. This process makes children “spiritual pioneers,” a phrase first used by Dr. Robert Coles to describe children who are trying to make sense of the world without the cognitive-spiritual maps that most adults possess.

Children have a complex development process influenced by many factors, including religious and spiritual organizations, mainstream media, books, magazines, celebrities, public figures, and other cultural icons. Unlike adults, children don’t make clear distinctions between spirituality and religion. Even very young children may have clear, though often fluid, ideas about faith, prayer, and divine experiences. Religious and spiritual experiences can exert a powerful influence in their lives, affecting their moral development, their idea of social relationships, their way of perceiving themselves and their behavior, and their way of integrating daily occurrences into a broader spiritual view."



Helping Children Cope with Death and Dying


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