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Worst Things to Say to a Child Who is Grieving

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Most of us struggle in knowing how to give comfort to an adult who is experiencing a loss or death of a loved one, let alone a child.  We often struggle with understanding death as adults and attempt to protect children from having to experience this same mess of emotions as we are.   Many adults are uncomfortable discussing death and dying and use phrases that may be misunderstood by children.   At times however, our well-intentioned messages do the complete opposite of giving comfort!  Here are the top five to avoid!

1- “He/She is in a better place now”

This can be such a confusing statement to a child (or anyone struggling).  What could be better than being here alive with me?? This type of a message can unintentionally cause the child to internalize a belief that “I must have done something bad” or “I must be bad” if being dead is better than being alive and spending time together.  A better thing to say is, “Your Mom  can’t feel any more pain or suffering now because she has died and her body isn’t able to feel these things now”.

2- “We lost your Grandpa”

A young child is going to be very confused by this.  They may wonder “Did Grandpa run away?”  or  “What?! Grandpa is lost?  Let’s go find him!”.  The child may worry about their loved ones health and feel anxious if they are safe or being taken care of by someone nice.  They may worry about them being alone and scared, which is exactly how a child would feel if they were lost too!  A better thing to say is “Grandpa died last night” and answer what questions your child may have about his death.

3- “He/She has gone to sleep and won’t ever wake up”

Young children may become very scared to go to sleep after hearing this, after all, if this happened to Aunt Thelma, then it could happen to them also if they go to sleep!  Many children struggle with sleeping in their own beds following the death of a loved one, as nighttime and being alone in their bed is a perfect combination for their worries and imagination to take hold and create very scary possibilities.  It is normal for a child to experience some regression during this time, they may begin bedwetting, climbing into the parent’s bed, struggling with falling and staying asleep, as well as refusal to be alone.

4- “He/She has passed away”

This is a typical phrase we use culturally to describe the death of someone.   However, most children do not know the definition of  “passed away” is actual death.  A better way to describe death to a child is to say, “Uncle Joe died today.  This means that his heart is no longer beating, his mind isn’t thinking, his lungs no longer work and he has stopped breathing.  His body can’t feel any pain or cold or discomfort”.  Some adults feel uncomfortable about being this upfront or frank about death, but  this is actually a really important lesson every single human needs to learn.  Every single person will both live and die at some point.  It is okay to talk about this openly and honestly.

5- “You should feel happy now that they are in heaven”

Who has ever felt happy when someone has died??  You may feel peace or tenderness or even relief,  but most humans do not experience feelings of happiness and joy as part of their grieving process.  When we say statements like this to kids (or adults) we unintentionally are shaming them for feeling otherwise.  Happy may be the very last emotion they are feeling at this point in time. There are no “shoulds” in grief, especially in childhood grief.  A better way to say this is, “Its okay to feel sad and mad and any other feeling you may feel right now”.

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Power of Play

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I was lucky enough to be featured on Dr. Christina Hibbert’s podcast Motherhood a few weeks ago.  We spent an hour talking about the importance of Moms in their child’s life- focusing on the power of play!

Play is a crucial part of healthy development for our children, and guess what? It’s an essential part of a healthy YOU, too. Through play, we can better understand our children, their needs, and what we can do to help them through the hard times. We can also strengthen relationships and build connections that last a lifetime. And when we approach life and motherhood more playfully, we not only set the example for our kids; we actually learn, create, relax, and live better, too. In this episode, I’m talking with Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, an expert on play therapy, and she’s got some valuable lessons each of us needs to hear about the power of play—for us, for our children, and for our families. Don’t miss this fun, fact-filled, play-inspiring episode! And visit my website DrChristinaHibbert.com for more on this and other “Motherhood” topics!

http://webtalkradio.net/internet-talk-radio/2015/11/09/motherhood-moms-kids-the-power-of-play/

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Back-to-School Jitters: Tips for Parents

SCHOOL KID ANXIETY

The Back To School Jitters

For many parents, the beginning of the school year not only brings a sigh of relief, but also a feeling of panic with the emergence of the endless school supply lists, homework, and trying to get not just to bed on time but to school! For many children and teens however, the first few weeks of school are not just a struggle because they are mourning the lazy days of summer.  Many kids experience anxiety and really struggle adjusting, especially if it is one of the “firsts” – 1st grade, the start of junior high, high school, and the senior year.  These are major milestones as well as rites of passage for kids growing up into adulthood, with many hurdles and the unknown of what to expect.  Click on the link below to watch this segment for tips for parents on how to move through these first few weeks smoothly as we calm the Back To School Jitters.

 

https://kutv.com/features/fresh-living/back-to-school-jitters-tips-for-parents

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Family Vacation Tips!

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Are you heading out on a family vacation this summer?  Click the link below to see what tips Clair Mellenthin, LCSW has on how to make the best vacation yet!

http://www.kutv.com/fresh-living/features/main/stories/Family-trips-are-healthy-143648.shtml#.VW35sc_BzGc

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How To Deal With Mean Moms: LCSW Clair Mellenthin on KUTV

LCSW Clair Mellenthin recently appeared on KUTV to discuss why some moms are unfortunately mean to other moms. She explains that it almost always comes back to insecurity: women who don’t feel good about themselves as mothers or lack confidence are more likely to lash out and belittle others. Sometimes there is tension between moms who stay at home and moms who work. This too is usually fueled by insecurity or the need for a mom to try to “prove” she is better.

What’s a good way to deal with a mean mom you may encounter? One way would be to avoid such a person, but what if it’s the mother of one of your child’s friends? Clair says that if you find yourself in the company of a mom who begins insulting others, simply giving positive input can stop the conversation. She always explains that it’s okay to be brave, say you’re uncomfortable, or even change the subject completely.

“What if I’m the mean mom?”

If you are a mom and find yourself being rude, judgmental, or mean to other moms, it’s a good idea to look inward. What insecurity or pain is causing you to project negativity onto others? Try cultivating gratitude for small things in your life to counter the temptation to be mean to others. Finding ways to be happy and confident can help you be more kind and considerate to other moms.

Watch the video for more about how to deal with mean moms.

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The Parent Trap: Clair Mellenthin on KUTV Fresh Living

Parenting is a difficult road to navigate especially when there might be two parents involved who have two different styles of parenting. Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, and clinical director of Wasatch Family Therapy joined KUTV Fresh Living to talk about the Parent Trap.Family 2

Watch the interview here.

3 Things to Remember to Avoid the Parent Trap:

  • Every parent is different.
  • There is no “right” parent.
  • Come together and be unified as parents.

Cialis vs Viagra it is old dispute between two similar medicines which stand by the way almost equally. but here not a task how to decide on a choice and to start using one of them. Viagra vs Cialis much kontsentrivany cialis which is on sale in the form of powder and we use it as required emergency. but nevertheless what harm they neninut especially if the birch costs.

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The Sexualization of Young Girls: KUTV News

Most parents would be horrified to think of their little girl as a sexualized object in our society, but that is what “smart” marketing is doing without our conscious awareness. Watch for my tips on how to protect your children from this cultural phenomenon as well as ways parents can teach their children their individual worth, beauty, and self-esteem.

http://kutv.com/news/features/fresh-living/main/stories/vid_653.shtml

 

Cialis vs Viagra it is old dispute between two similar medicines which stand by the way almost equally. but here not a task how to decide on a choice and to start using one of them. Viagra vs Cialis much kontsentrivany cialis which is on sale in the form of powder and we use it as required emergency. but nevertheless what harm they neninut especially if the birch costs.

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Easing First Grade Jitters: Tips For Back To School

Many parents with kids entering first grade are shocked about how big this transition is for their child. They go from being in school part of the day or even part of the week in kindergarten to being in school for the full day. This is a full day without mom and dad, without the comforts of home and without knowing what to expect. Often times many first graders develop anxiety for the first couple of weeks and may exhibit some regressive behaviors during that time. Watch the video to learn some tips for helping your kids get through this transitional period.

 

Cialis vs Viagra it is old dispute between two similar medicines which stand by the way almost equally. but here not a task how to decide on a choice and to start using one of them. Viagra vs Cialis much kontsentrivany cialis which is on sale in the form of powder and we use it as required emergency. but nevertheless what harm they neninut especially if the birch costs.

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6 Ways to Grow A Teen’s Self-Esteem

Many people young and old, male and female, struggle with recognizing their self-worth and their true potential in life. Often we are our worst critics. Most of us would gasp in horror if we heard another person speak out loud the thoughts we tell ourselves because it would be considered abusive!

Recently, as I was speaking to a group of young people and their parents on the topic of self-esteem, we broke down the definition of what self-esteem truly means. This is an interesting concept and I think helpful to break down into segments.

 

 

  • To esteem something is to hold it in high regard, to treasure it, to value it.
  • The self is you, the individual

How amazing it would be to think of your self in this manner. Is it possible to hold yourself in high regard, to value yourself, and to treasure it – i.e. to treasure you, the real you?

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How To Talk To Your Young Child About 9/11

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(Reposted from Sept. 2011)

As with the past 10 years, this upcoming September 11th marks the anniversary of the horrific attacks on the World Trade Center. Many of us can still vividly recall exactly what we were doing at the moment this occurred. For me, I was awakened at 5:45 am with a phone call from my mother telling me to turn on my TV immediately. I watched CNN and saw the second airplane hit the building on live television. I watched the towers crumble and our world as we knew it forever change. I was living alone in Los Angeles and that day, the whole city shut down out of fear that we would be the next target.

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