Children and Traumatic Grief

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Nader and Salloum (2011) made clear that, at different ages, children differ in their understanding of the universality, inevitability, unpredictability, irreversibility, and causality of death. They believed, despite the increasing understanding with age of the physical aspects of death, a child may simultaneously hold more than one idea about the characteristics of death. However, factors that complete the determining nature of childhood grieving across different age groups may be a difficult task for a number of reasons including their environment in means of the support they have available, the child’s nature in terms of their personality, genetics, and gender, coping skills and previous experiences, the developmental age, grieving style, whether or not therapy was received, and the relationship to the deceased (Nader & Salloum, 2011). Crenshaw (2005) found that according to our current understanding of childhood traumatic grief and normal grief, thoughts and images of a traumatic nature are so terrifying, horrific, and anxiety provoking that they cause the child to avoid and shut out these thoughts and images that would be comforting reminders of the person who died. The distressing and intrusive images, reminders, and thoughts of the traumatic circumstances of the death, along with the physiological hyper-arousal associated with such re-experiencing, prevent the child from proceeding in a healthy way with the grieving process (Crenshaw, 2005). McClatchy, Vonk, and
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