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An ongoing concern: Helping children comprehend death

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DOI: 10.4236/ojn.2013.33042    4,607 Downloads   6,763 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

This article addresses the need for anticipatory guidance about death and death education with young children. Children often experience the death of an immediate family member before the age of ten. This number increases if one considers the loss of friends, pets, and other loved ones. However, children experience a death with little or no anticipatory guidance or knowledge about death. Anticipatory guidance can assist the child in having a better understanding of a death when it occurs. Talking about death with children can be difficult for adults. However, it is important to address the topic and realize the impact anticipatory guidance in relation to death can have in assisting with childhood bereavement, anticipatory grief, and anticipatory adaptation. By providing anticipatory education related to death symptoms such as grief, anger, and/or fear, regressive or aggressive behaviors can be prevented or lessened when a death occurs. Age appropriate developmental levels for understanding the concept of death, resources for death education, and literature that can be used for death education are presented. Any resource used for death education with children should be carefully reviewed by the adult for its appropriateness prior to its use.


Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

McGuire, S. , McCarthy, L. and Modrcin, M. (2013) An ongoing concern: Helping children comprehend death. Open Journal of Nursing, 3, 307-313. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2013.33042.

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