Clinical Psychologist Serap Altekin from Doku Psychological Counseling and Training Center Ağı What concepts the child will ask questions will vary depending on what concepts he has heard around him and the events he has been confronted with, or he says.
What abstract concepts and themes do children ask the most?
The concepts that the child will ask questions differ according to the concepts he / she hears around and the events he / she faces. After a loss, it is natural for the child to wonder and question death, or to try to make sense of the concept of God he heard in a religious ceremony. Parallel to the stages of development, the first thing children question is gender differences. The questions about gender differences in children, namely the differences in the bodies of girls and boys, became apparent at the age of 2; questions about birth and sexuality begin at the 3rd and 4th years. At this age, children try to find answers to questions such as nereden where did I come from? ”And” how was I born?.. Until the age of 7-8, the child is not prepared to understand the details of sexual intercourse. From the age of 7-8, as simple and tangible as possible, it can be said that küçük a small seed in the father's body, combined with a tiny egg in the mother, initiates the development of a baby ”. The point to be considered in this regard; that the child's path of birth or birth is not from the urinary and fecal tract and is independent of the digestive tract; misunderstandings can create disgust, anxiety or fear in children.
Another concept that children wonder and try to discover is the concept of God. Children usually start to think about God from the age of 4 years. The imagination of God of children between the ages of 4 and 7 is concretization and humanization in accordance with their own stages of development and their mental capacity; in other words, they portray the god as an ”old and bearded grandfather sitting in the sky inde. Children between the ages of 7 and 10 think that God still otur sits in the sky birlikte, but gradually begin to attribute to him some superhuman qualities and a glory. After the age of 10-12, children acquire a more abstract and complex approach in parallel with their developmental processes and begin to perceive God as an abstract concept that exists everywhere at any time.
Should we explain the concept of God to children?
Whether or not to convey the belief in God or religious concepts to the child depends on the specific and subjective preference of the parents; this cannot be an issue that falls within our limits of expertise. However, it may be important to emphasize that; if the child is preferred to be taught the concept of God; God; not as an angry, judging or punishing entity; it is important to convey it as an entity that protects, supports, tolerates, loves and rewards. The concept of God or religious belief, defined in a positive framework; be capable of providing confidence, strength and support to the child; it can also help to attain certain social values and norms such as morality, virtue, love and respect.
After what age should parents teach children such concepts and themes? What should be the way to go here?
As soon as verbal communication can be established with children, these concepts and themes can be discussed with the first questions they ask. In statements made to children's questions, concrete, clear and as few words as possible should be used. Explanations and answers given; the child's age, mental, intellectual and emotional development and socio-cultural background.
Leaving questions unanswered means leaving the child alone with uncertainty; this causes feelings of fear, anxiety, guilt, shame and anxiety. Children feel comfortable and safe when they receive answers to their questions; they also find courage and support to ask questions, to question and to explore life and the world in this way.
How to tell death? If the child denies death, how should he behave?
For the child, the concept of death often comes to life with the loss of a relative; death and extinction, just like birth and existence, are among the concepts that the child first questions and tries to make sense of.
Until the age of 3-4, children perceive death as a long sleep and think that those who die will wake up and continue their lives. This is a feature that can be observed very clearly in games; a few minutes after they say that a hero is dead in the game, they continue by bringing him back into the game. However, from the age of 5-6, they begin to accept that death is an irreversible loss. Death to children in this age group can be explained using the examples in nature, starting from the life cycle of plants and animals. At older ages, explanations may be different and detailed.
Death; verbal communication with the child should not be stored from the time; a real, age-appropriate explanation. In the face of loss and death, the child should not be confronted with unanswered questions and uncertainties. The mourning process following death is a very complicated process. Child; it can direct feelings of anger, anger, aggression or guilt towards the deceased, himself, and others. Feelings of abandonment, loneliness and related fear and anxiety may intensify; the child may start to fear of losing other relatives and loved ones. These emotions, which are difficult and difficult to cope for the child, can cause significant adjustment disorders and behavioral problems for a while. It should be noted, however, that each child's perception and response to it may be different; it is important to define the subjective perception, interpretation and experience of each child. In our clinical studies, he defines the emotions, perceptions and interpretations of the child by using the pictures, the characters he plays in the plays and the stories he creates; and again in these symbolic ways we try to reconstruct the child's particular emotions, thoughts and behaviors.
After the death, the mourning environment in the house should not be maintained for a long time and an overly protective approach should not be adopted against the child due to the loss. Daily routine and old relationships should be maintained as much as possible; support systems within the family should be mobilized and the time spent by the child free or alone should be evaluated and shared. Instead of closing the subject or avoiding talking about the person who died; children should be encouraged and supported to express their feelings and thoughts. Positive memories and traits experienced with the deceased should be emphasized.
Should he take the boy to the funeral?
At this point, the age of the child is an important variable. Since the concepts of death and funeral for children before the age of 5-6 cannot be clear enough to reflect reality, their participation in the funeral is not meaningful. From the age of 6-7 onwards, children can be taken to the funeral when the concept of death becomes clearer and meaningful. However, the most important factor here; to tell children clearly in advance what will happen. By explaining what they will encounter step by step and preparing them for what they will experience, certain limits are imposed on the possible interpretation of children. Parents may seek professional help from time to time if they find it difficult to do so. In such a process of therapeutic support, we help prepare the child's emotions safely through play therapy while preparing the child for as long as he or she can live. This makes children feel safer and more comfortable; and help them cope with complex emotions such as fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, and loneliness that follow.