Experts say violence involving a child can be especially tough to deal with. In light of Tuesday morning's death, one Rockford area psychologist weighs in on how to cope. Clinical psychologist Dr. Terrance Lichtenwald says while some parents might be most concerned with explaining the situation to their kids, they shouldn't overlook their own healing.
"I think the loss of a child for a parent goes to the core and it's really very intense and personal." -he says.
According to Dr. Lichtenwald, grieving a death like this can test your foundation. A key factor to maintain is resiliency, or the ability to bounce back from negative situations. Dr. Lichtenwald says that will help you and your children deal with pain, but first you have to know your kids and understand their personalities.
"The parents who have that, the connection with their children, the religious belief system or higher power system I guess is what we call it now-a-days, can teach the resiliency, model the resiliency. That's the important thing with the child because you're really teaching them for life." -he explains.
When it comes time for your family to address a tragedy, Dr. Lichtenwald says usually for younger kids, it's very black and white. Answer their questions honestly and give them factual information.
"Yes to what's real, what didn't happen, 'Is this going to happen to you? No.' Reassure them confidently that you'll be there for them, you love them, you'll support them. That's what you do."
Dr. Lichtenwald adds that older children, like teenagers or adolescents, are more likely to be closed off or feel anger towards the situation. Parents should stay open and honest, but don't encourage any negative thoughts.
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