“Talking with children on their questions about death”
On Monday afternoon, November 26, 2018 , in the context of the Parents’ Schools, at the Spiritual Centre, the third meeting took place on the following subject: ” Talking with children on their questions about death” with speaker Ms. Olga Metallinou, psychologist, family psychotherapist.
The responsible of the School, Protopresbyter father Spyridon Triantafyllos thanked the speaker.
Then, Ms. Metallinou talked about the myths created about children getting information on death. There is this wrong belief in our society, that the young child should not grieve, because it cannot understand and as far as the older child is concerned, they feel sad but quickly forget. Children’s grief has some particularities, since they grieve occasionally , they have limited support, limited information and knowledge.
Continuing her speech, the speaker underlined the secondary dimensions of the death, that is the universality, the permanent, the stopping of the functions and the reasons why, To the aforementioned dimensions, there are equivalent questions from the children. In particular, as far as the universality is concerned, questions arising are the following: everyone dies? Some people or animals escape death? I could and the people I love could escape death? Regarding the permanent of death, the following questions arise: how long you remain dead after dying? Can the dead become alive again after dying? Referring to the stopping of the functions: what do you do when dead? The dead ones continue eating, playing, going to the toilet? And lastly, on the reasons why death happens, children ask: why people die? are the dead people bad?
Understanding the meaning of death depends on the developmental level, that is the kindergarten age, the school one and the teenage years, the previous experience and naturally, the family and social context. The factors influencing children’s grief are firstly, the kind and nature of the relationship with the person dying and secondly, the individual characteristics of the child or the teenager.
Closing her speech, Ms. Metallinou pointed out that by studying the meaning of death to children, we listen carefully, explore accurately the nature of the secondary notions in children’s thoughts and we allow them to tell us what they understand or not at the given moment, by always being real to children, without hiding the truth.
Then, a dialogue with the audience took place, while the event was closed by the General Prelatic Warden of the Holy Metropolis Protopresbyter father Themistoklis Mourtzanos, who conveyed the paternal wishes of his Eminence, Mr. Nektarios and stressed that the Christian Faith and tradition converses with the sciences of mental health in order to help people searching truth and asking for comfort with every possible means.