Helping Grieving Children Through the Holidays

New guidebook offers tips on aiding kids who've lost a loved one

SATURDAY, Dec. 16, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- The holiday season can be especially difficult for children who've experienced the death of a loved one or suffered some other traumatic event during the past year.

To help deal with these kinds of situations, New York University's Child Study Center offers a free guide with practical solutions for parents and mental health and school professionals who work with children.

The publication, Caring for Kids After Death, Trauma and Disaster: A Guide for Parents and Professionals, outlines what to expect from children experiencing grief or trauma. It provides practical advice on how to talk to children about their feelings, how to help children cope, and how to build a child's resilience to adversity.

"Holidays highlight that a loved one is missed," said Dr. Michelle Pearlman, director of clinical services at the center's Institute for Trauma and Stress.

"After the loss, children usually feel different about these special days and may experience new emotions like anger and sadness. Establishing new traditions, anticipating children's reactions and initiating discussions are all significant ways to help children cope with the loss," Pearlman added in a prepared statement.

More information

The guide is available for download at the Child Study Center's Web site.

SOURCE: New York University Child Study Center, news release, December 2006
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