The Benefits of Discussing Life’s Final Passage

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Back to Blog shutterstock 262386968.jpgbenefitsofdiscussing The Benefits of Discussing Life’s Final Passage Support group Mental health Grief Loss and Bereavement Family death Childrens Grief

How did American culture become avoidant of death and mourning? And how does it affect our children’s attitudes toward death? Some experts believe shielding children from death can actually make the event more traumatic

“Children tend to pick up on the message adults give verbally and nonverbally not to go there,” said Patti Anewalt, a grief counselor.

Why is death a foreign concept for so many families? In modern times, is it as simple as “we don’t do death” as a culture? A recent NY Times story argues that part of our avoidance issue is due to people living longer, “Parents haven’t been forced to talk about death because no one significant in their life has died.”

Now more people are coming to realize children should be included in the grieving process, when in the past, “Children were ‘invisible grievers,’” said Vicky Ott, executive director of Fernside, a grief center. Parents used to believe “children are resilient so we don’t need to talk to them about death. I think that’s changed a lot.”

As attitudes shift, we are seeing an increase in bereavement programs for children in America, including these highlighted in the story:

  • The rise of hospice care is changing the face of the conversation as many today provide bereavement services for children
  • Grief centers for children are on the rise; there are more than 300 nationwide, up from 204 in 2002
  • There are over 150 support groups for children
  • Grief camps are places where children can talk openly about death
  • Funeral homes are engaging children by offering children’s lounges

When it comes to death, “Kids are resilient, but not in a vacuum,” said Donna Schuurman, Director of the Dougy Center for Grieving Children, “They do better when they see someone understands what they’re going through.”

Read the story here:

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