Fear

The most basic feeling of loss for a child is that of fear, fear and uncertainty about: What happened? Who will die next? How will we live without the dead person?

Will my parents ever recover from their grief? Will my other parent die? How often does death occur? Who will take care of me? Where will I go if I die? Why did it happen to me? And, most especially, will I die?
Children of all ages must go through their fearful feelings until they come to their own understanding. This may be strenuous on both parents and children (e.g. nightmares, physical symptoms, regression). If children receive sufficient attention and nurturing during this fearful time, they will recover a sense of the basic dependability of life.
Listen to a child’s fears and validate them as difficult feelings to feel. Fear can appear differently in different children.
Some children act younger or regress. They want the reassurance, the care and attention that they received when they were younger.
Some children become over-achievers in an attempt to contradict their own feelings of helplessness. They may do everything “right,” even to the extent of parenting their parents.
Some children exhibit exaggerated displays of power to counteract their fears, and this may take the form of super-hero manifestations or may look like what we would characterize as naughty behavior, acting out, anger and/or belligerence.
Some children may withdraw and become very quiet, frozen in fear.

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