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Grief and loss

How Do We Tell the Children?

How Do We Tell the Children?

No. 8944

A Step-by-Step Guide for Helping Children Two to Teen Cope When Someone Dies
by Dan Schaefer, PhD and Christine Lyons

Now in its third edition, this classic guide is expanded and updated to feature new material on dealing with trauma and devastation, addressing violence in schools, helping grandparents cope as caregivers, and an enlarged quick-reference "Crisis Section" with scripts, answers, and messages for young ones.

Dr. Daniel Schaefer, working with child psychologists and trauma experts, and drawing on more than three decades of experience with families in crisis, has put together a practical guide for anyone who works or lives with children—parents, caregivers, counselors, or teachers—for dealing with children's inevitable questions about loss and change, life and death. He informs adults how to help young ones cope with the trauma of loss and offers time-tested, valuable advice on how to explain and console children in a language that they can understand. The book includes sections on what children think about death; explaining death to children; fear, confusion, and sadness; grief and healing; the funeral and saying good-bye; talking about AIDS; and talking to children with mental illness. (202 pp.)

About the author
Dan Schaefer, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized author, speaker, and management consultant, assisting individuals and corporations with strategies for performance enhancement, stress management, and the reduction of the impact of loss and life transition in the workplace. How Do We Tell the Children, now in its third edition, is drawn from Dan's experience in assisting individuals in acute grief.

Table of Contents

  • What Children Think about Death
    2-6 years, 6-9 years, 9-12 years, teens

  • Explaining Death to Children

  • Death of a grandparent, immediate family member, infant, friend or classmate, pet; accidental death; murder; suicide; AIDS; talking about someone who is dying; explaining death to mentally retarded child

  • Grief and Healing

  • Common reactions, special needs of children, the grieving process, problems to be prepared for, dealing with feelings, helping your child to heal

  • Expectations for the Grieving Child and the Best Ways to Respond
  • The Funeral—Finding a Way to Say Goodbye

  • Telling children what to expect, the goodbye gift, questions your child might ask

  • "Life Goes On," by Pat Travis Rosenberg

  • Crisis Checklist

  • Bibliography and Support Groups
  • Index


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