Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Guiding Your Child through Grief

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Guiding Your Child through Grief

Article excerpt

Guiding Your Child Through Grief. By Mary Ann Emswiler and James P Emswiler. New York: Bantam Books, 2000. 286 pp. $13.95 (paper).

If there is one new book that every priest, chaplain, educator, and some parents ought to read, this is surely the book. Most adults know too little about how children and adolescents grieve, about the ways in which they grieve differently from adults, and about how to communicate effectively with them while they do it. Even specialists fail to recognize how to help kids and youth grieve; psychiatrists rarely use the diagnosis for complicated grief Without a basic knowledge of these areas, well-meaning but uniformed adults are inadvertently predisposed to complicate the problems faced by children and adolescents.

In one volume, the authors cover the breadth of issues in pediatric grieving. After an initial introductory chapter, the succeeding chapters focus on how grief is expressed at stages of child development, how children express their feelings, and how family dynamics readjust after a death. There are also chapters addressing concrete ways parents can help children adjust to the new reality, including how to handle holidays, how to cope with special issues adolescents face, and what to do when grief goes "wrong." Later chapters discuss long-term effects of childhood grief, stepparenting a grieving child, tips for parental self-care, and the frequently asked questions of grieving children and possible responses to them. The appendices include an excellent and contemporary bibliography for further resources, and suggestions for how helping professionals, such as parish clergy or education directors, might integrate this topic into parish life. …

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