“Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by a change or an end in a familiar pattern of behaviour”
For many children `pet loss` is likely to be one of their first experiences of grief, the loss however may have occurred through divorcing grandparents or a shift in domestic arrangements, it can even be challenging finances that incur the loss. Children may have seen confronting scenes for example in `death of a pet` they may have found the body, if we are lucky enough to identify a grief event has occurred, a helpful response is to ask, “What happened?”. For many of us it is at this point we might lose confidence in how to respond, the good news is, it is most helpful to listen. Active listening provides an outlet and release for the emotional pressure that can build up inside us, it is a precious gift we provide if we can listen without judgement criticism or analysis.
Short Term Energy Relieving Behaviours (STERBS) may present themselves instead. STERBS are numerous and can range from constant desk tidying and OCD type behaviours to regression and acting out. In any event it is not only the children who may present but also the parents!
For more information on how to be an 'active' listener, STERBS, and much more on supporting mental health in the classroom please get in touch via my portal page http://www.independentschoolsportal.org/nicola-clifford.html You can also find information on availability for your school to participate in my six week 'Helping Children Deal With Loss' course in which I can accomodate up to 15 members of staff either in your own setting or here in the beautiful grounds of Pownall Hall School, Cheshire. I look forward to sharing this illuminating work with you.