This is the final week for Breaking Bad News To Children…so far we have covered:
- Wait Until You Have The Complete Story
- Faith and Fibs
- Use Age Appropriate Language
- Allow Time For Grief
- Share Bad News Together
- Choose The Right Moment
- Leave The Conversation Open
The following three are the last of the guidelines that Dr. Bill Webster discusses:
- Consider The Child’s Perspective: It’s pretty safe to say that if you are delivering bad news to a child, that you will be hurting as well. Don’t dismiss any of the things a child says as nonsense. It may be a big deal to your child that Grandpa’s watch also died a few months ago but they got a new battery and it worked again. The child may be thinking that there’s a solution to death. And even if you can’t figure out what the logic is to the things they are asking about, at least you are there and you are listening. Don’t write off behaviours as callous or self-centered especially in teenagers. There is a reason for every reaction and you need to figure out the why’s of behaviours before you can figure out the how’s to help.
- Go Ahead And Cry: Expressing your emotions gives another person permission to do the same. Crying is perfectly okay. And children learn from their parents so they will understand too that crying is okay. Just as learning that crying is okay, you can also be the role model to show that there comes a time when you are able to talk about the situation and not cry. Sometimes there comes a point that you need to save those tears for times you are with friends or when you are alone.
- Apply Distraction Carefully: While distractions may serve their purpose by softening the news and letting the child absorb what you are saying in small doses, keeping them too busy so that they don’t have time to adjust to a loss or work through their grief is not good. I guess it would be like an adult being over medicated during the initial stages of grief…once the medication wears off, the loss is still there waiting to be worked through.
Until next week,