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Grief and Loss, Young Children’s Understanding of

Young children are exposed to death and loss, even if adults and the culture at large do not acknowledge or recognize it. They experience the deaths of children, family members, other significant adults, neighbors, pets, bugs, plants, and wild animals, as well as death-related portrayals in the media. Losses can include a family move or a friend who moves away, parental divorce or loss of a parent’s dating partner, end of a friendship, or loss of prior preschool environment and teachers when they move on in school. Understanding children’s thought processes related to death and loss provides insights for adults into how a child responds to a loss and how to provide appropriate support, including helping the child clarify and manage loss-related experiences. This entry ...

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