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People experience many events throughout their lives. In addition to some positive and beautiful events in life, there are unfortunately bad and painful events. These are sad, difficult and stressful situations like death, illness, accident and divorce that may happen to all of us. Even adults like us sometimes have too much trouble in dealing with such events, while children's reactions to such events are much greater and deeper. We are psychologically and physically stronger in overcoming events. However, it is much more difficult for children to overcome these bad events that affect and change their lives to a great extent. For this reason, death, divorce, etc. to children. We have to be very careful and sensitive when reporting negative situations such as. Our most accurate way to give the child the bad news, the child will experience the sadness, stress responses and may help to minimize the physical and psychological problems that can help effectively. But what points should we pay attention to when giving bad news to a child, especially a preschooler (5-6 years)? What should we do to ensure that the child is least affected?
In terms of age and mental development, the concept of death and perception of death gradually started to settle in preschool children. Although the child does not immediately perceive that the deceased will not come back, he learns the news of death and digests it in the process and makes sure that he will never come back. However, by the age of the child still has a magical or special power that can bring back the loved one who died in the inner world. In general, this is the mental process and perception of the child.
First of all, when we give bad news to the child, the environment we choose should be calm, quiet and familiar to the child. Pre-preparation should be done before entering the subject. For example, 'we'll give you sad news soon.' Then we need to explain the news clearly and accurately without going into too much detail. 'your mother died in an accident'. At this point, we should tell the child in a language that he understands that death is not a bad event but a natural process for living things. E.g; the mentally symbolizing death of a flower's growth, blooming, yellowing and fading will help the child to reduce his fear and anxiety. Or 'people breathe while they live, walk, talk, eat, but they can not do it anymore after death' we can explain. Once the child has learned the news, we must remain calm and welcome all kinds of reactions. If he cries, we should let him, instead of trying to shut him up. Or if he stays silent or acts as if nothing happened, we need to let him know that we can talk about it again at any time. If the deceased person is not the mother or father, but the child is one of the closest relatives or friends that the child loves, it is best to give the news together. If the opposite is the mother or father who dies, it is better for one or two of the child's favorite people to tell the child. The most important point after all the bad events that we think will affect the child is not only death, but also how much we love the child and that we will be there for him in any case. Even though the outcome of the events is sad, we should try to minimize the child's anxiety by stating that everything will be put into order as soon as possible.
We should take the same approach when it comes to illness. Again, a quiet and proper environment should be selected while giving notice. Information about the event should be given to the child in the most accurate and untrue manner. However, detailed explanations that may raise suspicion of death in the child's mind should be avoided. If the child is likely to result in death or undergoes severe treatment, the following can be explained; 'The disease you have isn't just for you. Today, many people are treated for the same disease. Some recovered even though they had a long treatment period. Your doctors, like them, do the best they can to make you well again by applying the right treatment for your recovery. We will always be with you in this process. ' This kind of explanation explains the child's high anxiety and says, 'Will I die?' will help to minimize the negative thoughts in your mind. We can make the same statement to the child if one of the closest loved ones lives.
Separation in the family is the anger the child may feel towards the parents who leave home rather than the guilt or sadness he / she feels by age when it comes to divorce. Unfortunately, divorce is a very painful process for children and parents. For this reason, the most important point is that the couples have made the decision of separation before the child is told about this negative situation. Unless such a decision is made, it would be wrong to tell the child about it. When the divorce decision will be announced to the child, it is another important point that the mother and father together tell the child. The general explanation can be made as follows; As mother and father, we loved each other. We've been happy to live in the same house. But now we can't be happy together in the same house. So we decided to live in separate houses. But as your mother and father, we are not separated from you and we love you as before and we will continue to love you from now on. ' The discussions between the couples and the conflicts they have experienced during the disclosure of the child should never be reflected to the child. When the divorce decision is told to the child, the situation should be explained without going into details. Once the divorce decision is announced, how often the child will be able to meet with the parent who has left the home, and if there will be a change of home, city or school, they should be clearly shared with the child. A lie to the child in this regard will seriously undermine the child's trust in parents. In this respect, it is very important to be honest about it. You can say that this troubled process will end as soon as possible. The emotional support of the parent in the house with the child, but maintaining the order in the house as before, helps the child to be affected in the least way. The child must be satisfying on both sides of the point of love.
The effects of bad news given to the child can be seen in different ways. Some of those;
• Disruptive behavior of the child
• Observation of sleep and eating disorders
• Having anger control problems and harming oneself or others
• Shut down and silence
• If he / she goes to kindergarten, he / she may have problems communicating with friends.
• There may be poor performance in the courses.
If one or more of these conditions are experienced, what the parents will do is to be patient with the child in the first place. However, it would be very beneficial for both the child and themselves to get help from a psychologist or pedagogue, as parents will have difficulty in dealing with these situations on their own. Not only after the events, but at the beginning, when explaining the bad situations to the child, it is very important that families receive professional support if they find it difficult to explain to the child. Thus, they can communicate with the child in the most healthy way without taking the wrong step.
As a result; In the course of life we may encounter bad situations at any moment. This is inevitable. But the important point is how and in what way we can fight and overcome it. Children are the most sensitive group at this point should be paid attention to. That's why we need to be twice as attentive as adults to explain the bad news to them. Let us not forget that, as the elders of tomorrow, mental health and development is very important in terms of raising healthy children and raising healthy children in the future with the least damage.