Never Too Young to Know: Death in Children's Lives

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Oxford University Press, 2000 - Psychology - 271 pages
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In spite of society's wish to protect and insulate children from death, the experience of loss is unavoidable and there is surprisingly little guidance on how to help children cope with grief and bereavement. Never Too Young to Know: Death in Children's Lives is the first book to bring together diverse fields of study, offering a practical as well as multifaceted theoretical approach to how children cope with death. Using stories of children's own experiences supported by data from a large research study, Silverman explains the wide range of effects of loss upon children and the challenges they face as they grieve. Silverman presents grief as a normal part of the life cycle, which results not only in pain and sadness but also in change and growth. She further explains that children can and do cope effectively with loss and the changes it brings as long as they are taught to understand that death is a part of life and that they will be included appropriately in the family drama.
Never Too Young To Know: Death in Children's Lives is divided into three parts. The first section includes an overview and theoretical framework that examines the social, historical, developmental, and familial forces that frame and focus children's lives as they experience loss. The second section offers a detailed analysis of how children experience mourning different types of death including the death of siblings, parents, and friends, and death due to illness, suicide, accidents, and violence. The final section includes an accessible guide to helping children cope with grief, emphasizing the importance and the necessity of social support as children learn to adapt to their new lives.
Never Too Young To Know: Death in Children's Lives is not only ideal for advanced undergraduate and graduate students learning about children but it is also useful for courses on death and dying and the family. It is also an invaluable book for mental health practitioners, clergy, schoolteachers, nurses, pediatricians, as well as the general reader interested in learning how to deal with death in children's lives.
  

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Contents

MAKING MEANING OF DEATH AND GRIEF
9
Historical and Theoretical Perspectives
11
Bereavement A Time of Changing Relationships and Transition
23
Grieving and Psychological Development
41
Children in the Family Context
60
Concluding Thoughts to Part I
73
STORIES PEOPLE TELL
75
The Death of a Parent Dealing with Bad NewsMy World Is Turned Upside Down
77
When a Sibling Dies
150
Invisible Mourners The Death of a Friend
167
ON HELPING
187
Help Over Time Meeting Changing Needs
193
Finding Help Services for the Bereaved
213
Teachable Moments Promoting Competence
234
Afterword
246
Bibliography
247

Death of a Parent Making an Accommodation
94
My Child Is Dying
113
After a Childs Death Nothing Is the Same
131
Resources for the Bereaved
261
Index
265
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About the author (2000)

Phyllis Rolfe Silverman is at Harvard Medical School.

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