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How a Death Can Affect a Young Mind

When a death occurs and there is a young child who has witnessed it or been told that their relatives has died a lot of things can happen.  Babies, teenagers, and adults can all experience grief. Some may just use their behaviors to express what they are feeling instead of verbally telling someone. Such as babies being as they cannot talk yet, they can still sense a change in atmosphere and either constantly cry as it is new to them or misbehave or even throw things to show their anger. 

As death is happening in the family home or if it's in a hospital the younger minds, may need more explanation as to what is going on than a teenager or adult would. As they don't know. They need to be able to be taught about the topic such as death. 

Prepare Children:  When some parents think that it would be better to have a pet die first so the children could experience it at a “ lower level”.  However, while these thoughts that parents might have are not in vain as their intentions are true, sometimes its scary to think about death at all, be when you love someone so deeply it can truly affect you, and your outlook on the world and processes that take place.

The Grief Process: when children are dealing with the grief process starting with denial anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  When people are in denial, they may ask for the person to wake up,  not believing that they are actually dead, and frankly not wanting to believe it in the first place as it is hard on a child as is, because they don’t know what’s going on. Children may experience differently than adults.  Their grief may be spread out into different periods of time.

Encourage Questions: When a young child is experiencing the dying process it is normal for them to ask lots of questions. It might even help them try to understand what is happening.  While they already do ask a lot of questions when something new pops up that they aren't familiar with there is a high chance they are going to be scared of it. Not knowing what to do or how to react they might stay in the anger phase a longer time than an adult would. As an adult understand if not have already seen the dying process happen and know what to expect. However, an infant to 6-year-olds might not understand so they need more clarification.

Let the Dying Process happen:  even though the younger minds might not fully understand the idea of death some can grasp the concept and vaguely understand it.  However, some may try to wake the person seeing if they are just sleeping, or try to help them by taking out the needle for pain medication.  As they are genuinely curious about everything about them and around them. Little do they know that trying to wake Grandpa won't happen and he won’t ever open his eyes ever again and that can be a hard concept to deal with even at such a young age. Nobody is ready for a family member to die. It is a part of life though death is the last mystery of life and understanding the whole idea can be very scary. Just know you are not alone in your grief as others are going through the same thing with a friend, Parent, Family friend, or any other close relationship you might have with someone.  


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