Coping with a death in the family

Psychotherapist & Author Tina Payne Bryson, PhD, shares advice for parents on the best methods for helping your older child after something difficult like a the death of a friend or family member
How To Help Kids Cope With A Death In The Family
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Coping with a death in the family

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So when an older child has experienced something really difficult like the death of a friend or a family member, one of the most helpful things we can help them do is make sense of it. And a tool for doing that is by storytelling. So you can actually make a homemade book with them, use the computer and have them be a part of this process or just talk about it, because what happens it’s so painful for them, they feel the flood of emotions but they often can’t make sense of it. So what we want to help them do is bring together both the understanding of what has happened and make sense of it along with integrating their emotions and feelings. And this is actually a concept called integration where we bring these things together. This is sort of the science behind why the therapy or talking to friends is so helpful, because it brings the emotions and the memories alongside the making sense process. So what we can do is talk with them and help them retell the story, thinking about memories, thinking about the things that are important to them and then also talking about their feelings and create it in terms of telling a story.

Psychotherapist & Author Tina Payne Bryson, PhD, shares advice for parents on the best methods for helping your older child after something difficult like a the death of a friend or family member

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Tina Payne Bryson, PhD

Psychotherapist & Author

Tina Payne Bryson, PhD, is a psychotherapist at Pediatric and Adolescent Psychology Associates in Arcadia, California, where she sees children and adolescents, as well as provides parenting consultations. She is the school counselor at St. Marks Episcopal School in Altadena, CA, and a Developmental Consultant to Camp Chippewa for Boys. She speaks to parents, educators, and clinicians all across the country. Dr. Bryson earned her PhD from the University of Southern California, where her research explored attachment science, childrearing theory, and the emerging field of interpersonal neurobiology. Her best-selling book The Whole-Brain Child (co-authored with Dr. Dan Siegel) gives parents practical ways to transform difficult moments into opportunities for children to thrive.  Dr. Bryson has written for a large number of publications, most recently the PBS series “This Emotional Life.”  She lives near Los Angeles with her husband and three children.  

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