How can behavioral health resources to help cope with death or divorce?
Talking to a therapist can help children cope with death or divorce. A therapist can help children learn about emotions and how to express them, which helps children to feel better. Therapists also teach coping skills, so that children can manage stress and difficult feelings without taking it out on themselves or others.
What are some common reactions to loss?
Children have different ways of reacting to loss.
A child may show understanding by saying things like, "I know Grammy died because her body stopped working." Or the child may say something like, "Gran died and now she is happy in heaven with Grandpa." During this time, it's important to not ask too many questions or press for details.
A child may feel angry. Anger may be expressed through temper tantrums, irritability or aggressiveness toward others or self.
A child may have fears or phobias following the loss of a loved one. For example, the child may become afraid to sleep alone, be afraid to get in a car, wet his/her bed, etc., not because he/she needs to, but because the child associates these activities with the loss.
These behaviors are normal reactions to a difficult situation and time for grieving. They should lessen over time. But if they don't get better or worse after a couple of weeks, call a therapist for assistance in coping with bereavement.
What happens during divorce?
Hearing that parents are separated or getting divorced is confusing and very difficult for children to understand. Often, they feel like it's their fault, even though you've explained the divorce isn't their fault. Children take sides (even if there really aren't sides), blame themselves, become angry or sad, withdraw into themselves or act out in school. Many children experience sexual, physical or emotional abuse following the divorce of their parents. These are all normal reactions to a difficult situation and time for grieving. They should lessen over time. But if they don't get better or worse after a couple of weeks, call a therapist for assistance in coping with divorce.
What is the difference between grief and depression?
People sometimes confuse grief with depression. Grief is a normal reaction to loss, such as the death of a loved one or divorce. While depression usually happens when there has been a long period of unmanageable stress and anxiety. Depression involves feelings of sadness, hopelessness and despair that interfere with daily life and may require treatment.