My daughter has anguish of death

My daughter has anguish of death

Every night, my 6 year old daughter has anxieties about death. She talks about missing people in our family, loses more and more to fall asleep and ends up in tears. It started when the grandmother of a very close friend died at the end of the year. We tried to reassure her about our future and hers. Unfortunately, we can not comfort her. Can a child psychiatrist help him? Magalide, 36

Christophe Fauré

Psychiatrist and psychotherapist


Your little girl is in need of help. You were right to reassure her about her future and yours, but apparently that's not enough. It is possible that the death of this lady has activated an anxiety of another type in your child. Although it may seem strange to adults, your little girl may need "rituals" to reassure her that we do not forget those who die, who remain in the hearts of those who are loved them. Did she express the desire to go to the cemetery for example? Would she need to burn a candle of memory? Do not hesitate to ask her explicitly what she thinks she needs to get better. We often forget to ask the child this simple question.

At another level, there may also be a reactivation of separation anxiety from his early years. Has she been exposed to early separation from you, even temporarily? ... Or, does she fear something at home that would make her apprehend a separation (her parents arguing and making her fear a break?) ... The child's anxiety can be very related to the death of this child. lady or speak, in fact, of anything else. All cases are possible.

Anyway, outside help will be good for him. It is indeed the role of a child psychiatrist to help your child put words on what she feels. Nevertheless, the child sometimes has difficulties to put his emotions and feelings in words. Thus, very often, children's psychiatrists use the drawing or the game to allow the child to express what he can not name with words because his language skills do not allow it yet.

Parallel to the "verbal" - which has its limits in the small child - the psy therefore uses the "non-verbal" to help it externalize. He also helps him to decipher the meaning of his drawings or he plays symbolically important scenes with the child (a burial, hospitalization, divorce, an agonizing or conflicting situation for the child, etc.) - l The child responds very easily and easily to symbols: he understands them intuitively and responds easily to them without even realizing it!

What is also very surprising with young children is the great flexibility and fluidity of their psychic life: they are able to change their behavior very quickly, in a few sessions. Sometimes even, if the shrink right and if the situation is not too serious, one or two sessions can be enough to solve the problem and free the child from his anguish.


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