Sunday, April 25, 2010

Children grieve too!

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6385774n&tag=api

One of the steps we have made during the last century is recognizing children grieve. Now we are realizing how complicated a child's grief is because they do not have the vocabulary to describe to adults the depth of their grief (most adults can't find the words and children don't have the exposure to the words).

One of the many reasons I advocate for teaching children sign language when they are preverbal as signing is also very emotional. Children grieve when someone disappears from their life, they grieve when someone dies, when a pet is given away, when a toy is given away, when the adults in their life decides to move. Often adults make decisions and assume the child will adapt. Can children adapt? Of course. However, adapting is all about making adjustments to survive a situation not to accomodate adults.

 A child is vulnerable to their grief, to their emotions, to experiencing their world. ... See More For instance moving. A child does not have a sense of time or location prior to school age. Therefore they rely on the familiarity of the landscape to tell them where they are or how close they will be to where they are going.

While adults know what street they are on and which street to turn on to in order to get home a two year old knows by which familiar tree, building, or other landmark when they are close to home. This familiarity builds up security. Remember young children need routine and structure to feel secure and safe in their environment.

Moving is equivalent to a tornado striking your house and devastating everything....the only familiarity they have when they move is you and maybe their toys... Parents write me and question why their baby, toddler, preschooler has regressed and why they are so clngy? Why?

Often in families where there is a high level of abuse there is also high mobility. The family moves regularly. Increasing the level of powerlessness in the child as they struggle to survive the parenting and the grief involved in the constant changing of their environments....this helplessness can often lead to a surrender or submission to the futility....