Grief and Loss Issues

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    Chippewa Valley Schools

    Information for Teachers

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    If children are oldenough to love,

    they are old enoughto grieve.

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    At any given

    time, half of thechildren in your

    classroom maybe affected by

    some kind of

    loss.

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    Losses Children Grieve

    Death of someone significant

    Illness of an important person

    Parental separation/divorce

    Family move

    Parental addiction Parental incarceration

    Loss of a loved pet

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    Grieving in Childhood

    Grief responses can be acute or

    subtle and hard to observe.

    Children tend to grieve sporadically,

    in unpredictable bursts.

    Grief issues may re-emerge at later

    developmental stages.

    Grieving is more complicated after

    a sudden or traumatic loss.

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    Common Grief Reactions

    in Children

    Sadness

    Anger

    Lowered self-esteem

    Guilt

    Fears

    Insecurity

    Denial

    Relief

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    Behaviors You Might Observe

    Acting out behaviors

    Agitation

    Withdrawal Physical complaints/fatigue

    Regression to younger behaviors

    Separation problems/ clinging Poor concentration

    Inconsistent school performance

    Decreased work production

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    Each childs griefexperience is unique.

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    Childrens Perception of Death

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    Preschool Through 1st Grade

    Death is not seen as final

    Dead thought of as ghosts

    Magical thinking

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    2nd Grade Through 5th Grade

    Increased awareness that

    people die

    View death as happening

    only to others

    May feel they caused the

    death

    Interested in the physical

    aspects of death

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    One in twenty children will have

    a parent die before s/hegraduates from high school.

    Many more children

    will lose some other

    significant person(sibling, other family

    member, or friend)

    to death.

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    Gain Information

    After hearing about the loss:

    Contact the family

    Gather accurate information

    Determine how the student is coping with the loss

    Discuss what information should be shared with the

    class

    Ask about funeral arrangements

    Offer to be of assistance

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    Provide a Supportive

    Environment Prior to the childs return to school, share factual

    information with the class

    Answer students questions directly while

    staying within their capacity to understand

    Provide them with the opportunity to share

    their feelings

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    Create an opportunity for students to reachout to their grieving classmate, e.g.

    condolence cards

    Brainstorm with the class acceptable

    statements of sympathy

    Provide a Supportive

    Environment

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    Support the Grieving Child

    Speak to the child privately to offer your support

    Listen. Allow the child to express his/her

    feelings

    Reduce school work as needed

    Be watchful for events that may trigger more

    intense feelings e.g. holidays, anniversary of

    death, etc.

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    Understand that grieving is a long process

    Remember that the grieving child does notalways look sad

    Recognize that acting out behaviors may bea way of expressing distress

    Support the Grieving Child

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    Children may notremember what you

    say, but they willnever forget how

    you make them feel.

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    Increasing numbers of

    children face significant andsometimes multiple losses.

    Besides the death of asignificant person, these

    losses may include illness of

    a family member, parentalseparation or divorce, family

    moves, etc.

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    When to be Concerned

    Be concerned if a child:

    Evidences dramatic change

    Displays prolonged depression, anger, orwithdrawal

    Exhibits dramatic decline in school work

    for an extensive period Makes suicidal statements

    Alert parents, administrators, school social

    worker, counselor, and/or psychologist.

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    Resources

    Your building social worker, counselor, or

    psychologist can provide you more information:

    strategies for supporting the grieving child

    classroom activities

    referral information

    resource materials for children and parents

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    Resources

    Your building crisis team can assist in themanagement of an acute crisis situation.

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    Outside Resource

    SandCastlesHospices of Henry Ford Health System

    Ongoing grief support program for children and theirfamilies who have experienced the death of a

    significant person

    Meets at Chippewa Valley High School

    Free of Charge

    For more information contact: 313- 874-6881

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    As a teacher you havethe opportunity totouch childrens lives

    in a very special way.Your actions canhave a life-long

    impact.

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    This information has been provided bythe

    Chippewa Valley Schools

    District Crisis Coordinating Team

    whose mission is to support district staff and

    building crisis teams in crisis response efforts.