Death talk : conversations with children and families by Glenda Fredman

By Glenda Fredman

This publication tackles head at the usually tabooed topic of dying. It distils subtle medical paintings into uncomplicated language, and describes basic thoughts for chatting with kids approximately death. the writer makes subtle fabric obtainable to a wider variety of practitioners than educated therapists.

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Additional resources for Death talk : conversations with children and families

Sample text

Glenda: How has having someone to listen helped? Mother: I can talk about it instead of it going round in my head— and I don't feel so mad. I went on to explore how she perceived the effects of death talk on others and on relationships. Glenda: How has talking with Bernice made things between the two of you? Mother: What d'you mean? Glenda: For example, has it made you closer to each other, do you spend more time together, or has it sometimes felt a bit tense? Mother: We are much closer. Glenda: How has it made things between you and the children?

I also explained that Nicole, at her age, was more likely to understand that death is final and may perceive death as an external force, perhaps personified as some­ thing like a death person or an angel (Nagy, 1959). I added that children of Nicole's age may not necessarily see death as inevit­ able and could presume that only the old die (Kane, 1979). * * * When Mrs B told me that Dina had informed her that Skimpy had come alive again, her report,resonated with, my developmental story that the beliefs of children at this age are egocentric and that magical thinking typifies the child (Piaget, 1958).

How come you think they see things the same/differently? — What do you think your aunty knows at the moment? A n d your mother? — What do you think they would like you to know? Since sharing information with young patients commonly raises dilemmas for hospital staff (Bluebond-Langner, 1978) and parents are less likely to acknowledge mutually the approach of death with their child (Goldman & Christie, 1993), I try to address when and whether it would be a good idea to talk early on in our work together, with questions like : — When would be a good time to talk with Margaret about the future of her (illness/treatment/recovery)?

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