By Kristin Stanberry
Tragedy and loss can impact our children's lives in many ways. The situations that trigger loss can be as far-reaching as a national tragedy, natural catastrophe, or threats of such realities. Or they can be as personal as the death of a family pet or his best friend's move to another town. Whatever the loss, we need to be sensitive to our children's feelings. As parents, we can provide comfort and guidance to help our kids understand what has occurred; express their emotions; and help them cope, adjust, and move on with life.
Children who have learning difficulties face special challenges during a time of loss. For example:
Kids often find it difficult to tell their parents what they feel. Because many kids with learning challenges have a problem with language, verbalizing their feelings may be extra hard for them. Observing children's behavior is as important as listening to their words. Watch for these signs of stress:
Let them know you think something may be bothering them and encourage them to talk about it. Be accepting and non-judgmental as you listen to their concerns. Getting their feelings out in the open starts the process of coping with the situation. If problems persist, consult with your child's pediatrician or counselor.
Remember that a period of loss can last for weeks or months. Remind your child that someday he'll feel better again. Progress may be slow, so be patient and acknowledge even his smallest successes. As always, celebrate his happy and proud moments. It will help both of you remember the joy life has to offer.
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