Helping Kids Cope with Grief Lecture Scheduled
New Britain [November 02 2006] -
The Hospital of Central Connecticut’s New Britain General campus will host a free talk for the public on Thursday Nov. 16, “Together We’ll Get Through This: Talking to Children about Serious Illness.”
The speaker will be Karen Carney RN, MSW, a licensed clinical social worker with over 20 years of experience working with grieving children and families. She is the co-founder of the D’Esopo Resource Center for Loss and Transition, and the author/illustrator of the Barklay and Eve activity and coloring books. She is the recipient of the American Cancer Society’s Lane W. Adams Award, receiving national recognition for clinical social work expertise. Karen’s work with traumatized children, adolescents, and families is extensive. She is regularly called into school systems for crisis intervention and is a sought-after presenter and lecturer.
The focus of the presentation will be how to help children deal with grief that stems from the serious illness of a loved one. Carney will identify and address some of the major concerns and fears of children during times of crisis.
“It’s important for adults to understand that children are not just little adults,” Carney says. “Children of any age need adults to anchor them. They need reassurance that there are capable adults who will take care of them.” Understanding children’s level of development is very important in preparing for bad news and helping them cope through diagnosis and treatment. When the survival of a significant adult is threatened, Carney explains, a child’s first thought is of their own basic survival, ‘Who is going to take care of me?’ Others are “Is it my fault?” or “Is it going to happen to me?”
How do you tell children? If it’s a diagnosis of cancer or other life-threatening illness, many
adults often don’t have the language themselves, and if they’re unsure, may say nothing. Carney says saying nothing may be the worst thing to do. “When adults don’t say anything, children can usually sense something is wrong, and a child’s imagination can lead to exaggerated fears, nightmares, and other symptoms,” Carney says. It is important for adults to be as open as possible, taking a child’s age into account. Equally important is to acknowledge that grief is an inevitable part of the human experience and that “together we’ll get through this,” giving them calm, stable, and compassionate support.
The free lecture is being sponsored by the Wolfson Palliative Care Program and will be held in Lecture Rooms 1 & 2. Free parking will be available in the Quigley Garage. Registration is necessary — call 860-224-5463 to register and for more information.
Contact: Corporate Communications, 860-224-5900, ext. 6507
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