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The first four lines ar what i was given and what I am expected to do for essay. The max words is 1100.I just cant seem to get a good structure to this essay and its now due tomorrow morning!!"Only in childhood can death deprive an individual of so much opportunity to love and be loved and face him with so difficult a task of adaption."(Furman, 1994)
Provide a brief description of the bereaved child's grieving process and outline how a child can be supported both within and outside of school.
To recover from the loss of someone close it's important that the attitudes of the teacher, bereaved child and the family are stable and consistent.
A bereaved child goes through different phases to overcome the crisis of loss. The way in which the child overcomes the grief is extremely important for the child's developmental process. A child's circumstances and vulnerability both influence the length and ? of the mourning whether it will be a healthy approach or take some other route.
Jarratt (1994) expresses that children move through stages of grief productively and the first stage is early grief. This process includes denial, hyperactivity, alarm and panic. These don't come in any particular order but denial is certainly a mechanism that develops early and helps the child to reduce stress and anxiety but also suppresses their feelings helping to support denial. Though the reaction they use is mostly connected to those around the bereaved child. The child might encounter a brief period of shock at first but this is usually overcome by numbness and disbelief. These feelings may give way to intense anxiety or yearning and longing for the deceased.
These feelings proceed into the second phase of acute grief which has a combination of elements of feelings endured by the bereaved child. Though no one feeling is more important than the other, there is one important fact and that is no to suppress any of the feelings and try to work around them even though one feeling might intercept the next. As children may need more time to overcome their grief in comparison to adults, it needs to be told that these feelings and experiences are common occurrence and need to be expressed. Yearning and pining happens when the child has hopes and dreams of turning back the clock to before the death when their life was 'normal' before the person died. They may relate to T.V. characters and hope their problem will be 'fixed' at the end as a sense of disbelief at the outcome. One other element may be searching for the loved one at the house or place they would have normally resided at and possibly to remember certain memories or in hope that by doing something to reclaim the deceased they might be able to bring them back. Part of this grieving process is also anger. Anger at the parents, the teacher, God and blaming the deceased for the trouble they have caused to the existing family structure. Anger and blame co-inside with one another and may rise unexpectedly. Guilt can also deepen the child's feelings as they cope with blaming themselves for the death. They may be inclined to presume they are responsible for the death for not being 'kind' enough or simply for bad behaviour and they are now being punished.
'A child will often take the loss of someone close as a deliberate rejection and this will lead them to form an image of themselves as someone who is unworthy, unlovable and who deserves to be rejected'. (Markham, 1996)
Reassurance is needed at this stage that the death would have happened whatever the behaviour of those around and encourage the child that life must go on after death and that happiness can be retained once more. Damage to the child's self worth and self image could so easily be done, so care and tactfulness need to be addressed so the child doesn't feel unloved and doesn't feel rejected by the deceased as difficulties may arise if the child carries on these feelings into future relationships with people.
As Connor and O' Driscoll discusses, preparation and involvement in the funeral and remembrance services help the child feel reassured and adjust, it's important to let them have the choice of what they would like to do and also to keep continuity in their daily routines and familiar surroundings.
'The outcome of children's grief experiences hinges to a large extent on whether adults are able to tolerate their expressions of strong feelings about what has happened'. (Jarratt, 1994).
The main information for a child to know is that the dead person is not going to return and whether the person may be buried or cremated.
The provision of support for the student by all members of staff together with the encouragement of further support from fellow students is critical for the healing process of the child. Further assistance by external sources such as a clergy or doctor may be appropriate to talk to the class and the bereaved children to help them understand. For the child, returning to school can be a difficult time as they have to face their classmates again and may be worried what others know or will say. The teacher should talk to the class about the situation before the child returns, to explain the situation and as the teacher it's important to note that honesty is the best policy and to talk to them in the language and terms that they understand. (The bereaved child's feelings make take precedence and there is no quick way to overcome these feelings.) By maintaining the usual rules and routine in the classroom will help reassure the child in this period of upheaval. After major loss, the first year can contain major periods of intense grief and emotion which may reappear especially on anniversaries and birthdays and peers and classmates need to be sensitive around these particular times. Before talking to the child, the teacher must communicate with the parents to elicit what information regarding the death and burial has been given to the child to ensure the same information is being given and not confusing or upsetting the child. It may be useful for the parents to give a simple explanation to the child so they can answer best when questioned by their classmates as they can be hurt with other children's insensitive remarks. It's important to liaise with the parents regularly regarding the child's welfare and to establish the ? In class, the child may ask questions regarding the death and its best to answer them truthfully and directly. Clear explanations help the pupil adjust as explanations that are inappropriate or misled will only increase the child's fears and anxieties. The child shouldn't feel isolated or singled out in the classroom and that the grief can come in waves with some days being better than others even months after the death. Their concentration levels may be affected trying to cope with the recent upheavals and coping to come to terms with the loss which may result in regressive behaviour. They may also find learning and retaining information difficult as well as exploring in detail themes in subject areas such as Reading or History. It depends on the child as different children may have built up anger and frustration following the death.
In the last stage, subsiding grief, the child is starting to organize themselves back into their routine and the loss and bereavement integrates and they start to accept the outcome. To reach this stage may require additional help from outside sources to create a positive integration. They start to concentrate better and understand their loss as part of life and adjust to their surroundings once again. As a teacher there are many roles and can be difficult at times especially if bereavement occurs as this affects the whole class.