Traumatic Grief of Children in Military Families

810 words | 3 page(s)

PTSD can manifest in children through their imagination (NCTSN, n.d.). Children who know or are related to someone who has died get nightmares about how the person died. They have fantasies about rescuing the person or preventing the death from occurring.

Bereaved kids may avoid reminders of the dead person. They avoid seeing their pictures or visiting the person’s grave. Also, they, avoid listening in on people talking about the deceased person.

puzzles puzzles
Your 20% discount here.

Use your promo and get a custom paper on
"Traumatic Grief of Children in Military Families".

Order Now
Promocode: custom20

They may develop anxiety. Children who are bereaved may find themselves being anxious, having poor concentration, and having fears, they didn’t have before such as loud noises if the dead died in an explosion. They also become irritable.

Grief reaction is different depending on the child’s age. Preschool age children don’t often understand that they will never see the dead person again (NCTSN, n.d.). They are upset by the abrupt change of schedule and get fussy and clingy to their caregiver.

School-age children begin to understand the finality of death. They are curious about the death and have a lot of feelings about it. The most common is guilt and sadness. Grief may show itself in the form of physical pain such as headaches and stomachaches

Teenagers fully understand death. They feel shame and guilt, and that affects their studies and their associations with others. In response to the death, they may result in drugs and self-harm.

A bereaved child can be helped by providing a sense of security (Cohen & Mannarino 2011). Caregivers should be concrete in reassuring the children. If for instance there is separation, give the child a precise time of reunion. Explore reasons for misbehavior.

Be patient with a grieving child. Since you might also be grieving, understand that the child is in the same situation. Positive reinforcement, extra comfort, and hugs may help them.

Pay attention to odd behavior. Observe for the child’s nonverbal cues. Note if there is a change in behavior or if they complain of physical discomfort. Some children will be more verbal about their feelings.

Encourage the child to express their feelings. If they will not talk about their feelings, they can use art, play, and acting to get their feelings out (NCTSN, n.d.). It is essential to help them expose their emotions rather than hold them in.

It is hard for children to separate their feelings. Together with grief, the child is experiencing other feelings. If their feelings are more intense than they should be for a long time, consider getting outside help.
Be on the lookout for the things that could upset them. It includes military-related items such as uniform and news pieces about war. They may need additional help to learn how to deal with the reminders.

Help the child maintain a connection with the person who died. Show them photos and talk about memories of the person. Respect what the child wants while doing this. Don’t push excessively.

Explain what happened to the child. Even the youngest needs to hear what happened. Use language that they will understand and only give as much information as they can handle. Assure them that it isn’t their fault and that the dead person is not coming back.

Inform the other people in the child’s life what is happening. Let them know what to expect with the child. Let them help you in dealing with the child’s grief and supporting them. Help them understand why your child’s behavior has changed.

Involve the child. Start projects that will make them feel needed. It can be done by starting a project to honor the diseased such as something they share to help them feel happy when they think about the dead.

Create a playgroup. To make your child feel as normal as possible, help them interact with children who are dealing with the same loss. There are groups for that specific reason all across the country.

In the case of several children in the family, spend one on one time with each (NCTSN, n.d.). Doing this prevents any of the children from feeling left out. Do something with each child that they like such as going to the park and baking.

Consider different needs of children of different ages. Don’t treat all the children the same way. Toddlers react differently to grief than older children and have a different bond with the deceased.

The child will need help dealing with the death as time goes by. Be there to assist especially on important occasions such as prom and graduation (NCTSN, n.d.). It is at that time that they will feel the deceased’s absence the most.

  • Cohen, J. A., & Mannarino, A. P. (2011). Trauma-focused CBT for traumatic grief in military children.’Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy,’41(4), 219-227.
  • The National Child Traumatic Stress Network. (n.d.). Traumatic Grief in Military Children: Information for families. Retrieved from http://www.NCTSN.org

puzzles puzzles
Attract Only the Top Grades

Have a team of vetted experts take you to the top, with professionally written papers in every area of study.

Order Now