This book has really got me thinking, would love to hear other peoples thoughts....(5 Posts)
I hope you're all well.
I'm wondering if you may be able to help me with something I've been thinking about a lot.
I read in a book recently about 'dealing with death'. It has a statement that says 'People study for weeks for a birth, years for life, but never for a death'.
It really got me thinking. So, I've written a little more detail below and would love you to read through and let me know your thoughts and experiences. Having been a teaching assistant in the past, I'm wondering if there is more that could/should be done to help people 'deal' with death....
I am aware that lots of people will have very different views here, I'd just really like to hear individual views if people have time to give them.
Let me explain....
I'm a women in my mid 30's, I am trying for a child and I used to be a teacher assistant. Anyway, being 30, I have had some people I love and am close to die, eg: my grandmother, 1 close friend and some family friends. I am also a massive horse lover and have had to say painful goodbyes to my much loved animals. As we all know, death is painful and we all deal with it in very very different ways. Some people like to talk about death, others don't, it's often a taboo subject, some people take their children to funerals, others don't etc...... I've been pretty shielded from talking about death, mainly due to my mothers father dying when she was 16 and she finds it incredibly hard to talk about him/death.
So, having read this book and having had some teaching experience and having had my own experiences of dealing with death at a young age and struggling, I wonder whether more could be done to assist young people, eg; through one off workshops given at schools/youth clubs?
Maybe covering things like?
- How to help a friend who may have a friend who is dealing with death
- How to get support if someone you love is dying or has died
- How people with life threatening conditions (eg:cystic fybrosis) would like to be treated - eg: often as normally as possible
- History of terms associated with death. Eg: Why coffins, why do people wear black etc
Obviously there are other issues involved eg: religious differences but I'm just thinking very generally....
Would this be a good thing or bad? In my head, I think it would have been helpful, but since I don't yet have children, perhaps mothers really don't want their children to have to face the thought of death before 18, 19, 20???
I was thinking children under 10 would not be ready for a class workshop like this, would over 10's? 12's? 14's? What do you think?
We teach our children about sex education, religion, stranger danger, applying for uni, parenthood etc.... but yet never, ever 'how to deal with death'.....
It's really got me thinking and I'd love to know other peoples thoughts?
The idea in principle is a very good one. You are so right that we spend ages preparing for other life events, but not preparing to lose someone through death.
Ideally this is something that would be taught through regular pshe classes, it would certainly be a very valuable addition to the curriculum.
You could inclue some basic information about the legalities surrounding death, how the body has to be released by the coroner, issues surrounding wills and probate etc. Obviously in an age appropriate way.
I would say that when children begin secondary school would be about the right age, but that is something that opinions are likely to vary greatly on. I lost my Dad when I was 15, so something before that would have been perfect for me, but then my dh didn't experience losing a grandparent until he was 24, my Mum didn't have a loss until her 40's.
In a school environment, there is bound to be at least one student who would be facing death in the family, if they hadn't already, and I think it would take a lot of expertise to deliver such a sensitive subject appropriately. I think it would need to be done with the help of councellors and maybe child psycologists, and councelling would need to be offered to all students. That would be a big thing to provide, but hugely beneficial for those who needed it.
I think one major difficulty is preparing people for the unexpected. As you say, people deal with grief in such different ways. There would be a very fine line between preparing people and giving them false, unrealistic expectations.
In fact, this is one of those things that the more you think about it, the more questions there are!
I think this would be a subject requiring parental consent. The school are not to know the specifics of children's current situations and so clearance would be appropriate.
Also, everyone deals with death differently, and apart from the basics I think once you get into more detail or discussion then it ought to be being delivered by someone who is trained properly. Otherwise, when situations happen in the future and children don't feel the way it was taught, it could cause all sorts of confusion.
I think it would be appropriate to teach teenagers about this as in general I'd consider them mentally mature enough to handle it, but personally would be quite uneasy about teaching anyone younger about this. I lost my dad coming up to 5 months ago now, I don't think anything could ever prepare you for it emotionally, regardless of what was taught.
Good thoughts, I've been talking to some teacher friends over the weekend, people seem to think its a good idea and yes, agree that perhaps PSHE classes may be the appropriate way to help.
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