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10 year old - nighttime fear and increased 'clinginess' - result of bereavement

(4 Posts)
Unusednickname Fri 29-Oct-10 15:17:57

I am hoping someone here may be able to advise. Please do let me know if this would be more appropriate posted elsewhere.

My niece has a 10 year old ds. They have always been very close to one another and to my dps (her gps) to whom they live close by. My dps used to mind ds before he started school.

My niece's partner left when their child was 2. They lived together until that point but her partner was unable to really bond with ds and he never visited or had any contact with ds who really doesn't remember his father. My niece took her son to visit his father every two weeks until he was violent towards her during one of these visits.

There have been a few occasions when he has had a card from his father and has written letters to him to which no response has been forthcoming.

His father died five months ago and ds has since been noticeably hugging members of the family particularly men, or particularly when they are holding or talking to my dd (5 months - born the day his father died)

he also says that he is frightened at night (about the end of the world, Nostradamus' predictions, worries about his mother) and more generally is scared to be separated from his mother.

Clearly the bereavement is part of this but is some of it just a developmental stage? Are there any practical tips which would help us to help him with this?

Any advice would be very gratefully received.

jancolls Fri 29-Oct-10 23:07:50

At the age of 10 he is becoming more aware of the world around him and the bereavement has only enforced the idea that life doesn't go on for ever.

When I was his age, we were not bombarded with media images all the time, nor was our country under much of a threat, so life for us was quite innocent. Today children see all the horrors of the world most of the time. He would have been 5 when 7/7 happened, but probably took in more of it than you would think.

Now a [close] member of his family has died and it is bringing it all into his home. I had charge of a small child when Diana died and he used to become almost histerical whenever she got into her car. All he knew was that 2 boys had a mummy who was killed in a car crash and it took some time to get him over this.

He needs to be supported and reassured that he is loved and is surrounded by people who are not just going to disappear. It might be appropriate for his mother to discuss with him, what would happen to him if she died, ie: gps would look after him etc.

Don't make promises that you might not be able to keep. For example, I had an 8yrs charge when 9/11 happened who was afraid that they were coming after us. I and her parents told her that none of us could promise that it wouldn't happen here, but that our government were doing their best to protect us and we had to trust them. She found that very reassuring.

In the meantime, your niece should talk to a professional such as her GP or someone at the school, about getting her son some professional bereavement counselling. They could both go to sessions together also. Paediatric bereavement counsellors are highly trained to help children through this traumatic period.

I wish all of you hope and happiness in the future.

Unusednickname Tue 07-Dec-10 18:11:22

Thank-you so much for this advice it is very gratefully received and I have spoken with my neice who will be taking a lot of it forward.

plupervert Thu 23-Dec-10 23:21:12

The poor child probably has all sorts of ideas about his father (writing letters shows he has some sort of hopes, and has been trying to communicate) and now has no vessel for these feelings. Maybe he has heard about "unofficial adoption" or "mentoring", and is hoping for something of that for himself?

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