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Question
Posted by: Hester | 2010-11-30

Death of a grandfather, child saw it all

Hi Cyber, I lost my father about ''n week ago, we were on our way to the hospital when a blood clot went through this heart. My daugther of 2years saw it all, she heared all the screaming of my mum, and she saw my dad.....dead. Since then, she screams a lot and cries alot, is there anything I can do, to get her over this. I tried to explain to her already that her grandpa was sick and that he went to heaven, but it seems like it does not help.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

At her age it would be very difficult for her to udnerstand what was happening, except to recognize that it was awful. What is often most frightening to a child is not so much what is actually happening ( which they may not understand the significance of ) but they ma be terrifed by the responses of the adults round them. If we act calmly and capably, they feel better ; where we panic and scream as apparently your mum did, the child resonates to YOUR fear.
AT her age, explanations about heaven may not be understood and thus not comforting. A child psychologist or child psychiatrist might be able to help assess her gently, to understand how this is troubling her, and to help her adjust to it. Right now, she might not understand death - she will certainly not understand it even ad badly as most of us adults do, but may fear that something a absolutely awful that frightens the adults, can happen without warning - and that feels scary

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: repo | 2010-11-30

Best thing to do is continue comforting your daughter and explain that grandpa is in a happy place/nirvana/heaven etc until shes older and has the comprehensive ability to understand death and overcoming it

Reply to repo
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010-11-30

At her age it would be very difficult for her to udnerstand what was happening, except to recognize that it was awful. What is often most frightening to a child is not so much what is actually happening ( which they may not understand the significance of ) but they ma be terrifed by the responses of the adults round them. If we act calmly and capably, they feel better ; where we panic and scream as apparently your mum did, the child resonates to YOUR fear.
AT her age, explanations about heaven may not be understood and thus not comforting. A child psychologist or child psychiatrist might be able to help assess her gently, to understand how this is troubling her, and to help her adjust to it. Right now, she might not understand death - she will certainly not understand it even ad badly as most of us adults do, but may fear that something a absolutely awful that frightens the adults, can happen without warning - and that feels scary

Reply to cybershrink

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