Irish Independent - Health & Living - - MIND YOURSELF -

Ev­ery child in a fam­ily grieves dif­fer­ently be­cause of per­son­al­ity, gen­der and the re­la­tion­ship they had with the per­son who has died. Un­like adults, chil­dren dip in and out of grief. Here, Áilín Quin­lan gets some ad­vice on how to sup­port be­reaved chil­dren from Orla Kee­gan, head of ed­u­ca­tion, be­reave­ment and re­search at The Ir­ish Hospice Foun­da­tion; Anne Marie Jones, head med­i­cal so­cial worker for be­reave­ment co­or­di­na­tion at the Chil­dren’s Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tal, Tem­ple Street; and a mem­ber of the Ir­ish Child­hood Be­reave­ment Net­work ad­vi­sory panel.


Peo­ple can for­get that chil­dren do not nec­es­sar­ily un­der­stand the mean­ing of the rit­u­als around death. Take time to ex­plain com­mon rit­u­als around a death, such as the age-old Catholic tra­di­tions of the rosary, the wake, the re­moval and the fu­neral, and why, for ex­am­ple, peo­ple come and shake the hands of the be­reaved. “There are dif­fer­ent tra­di­tions around death for dif­fer­ent re­li­gions. It’s a good idea for a child to un­der­stand the re­li­gious rites sur­round­ing death in their par­tic­u­lar reli­gion,” Jones ob­serves.

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