Welcome to my blog! I am Dr. Lauretta Stombaugh (Dr. S) and I have been part of the Hendersonville Pediatrics family for over 8 years. I have decided to share this blog because I feel that it is vital for parents and caregivers to be well-informed as well as have access to solid, accurate medical information. Your children are our children and we take pride in the excellent care we provide here at Hendersonville Pediatrics. Please join me monthly (or every two weeks if my four kids allow me time to write!) and I will in turn provide interesting, helpful and maybe even comical blogs. Please share a link to my blog! Ready, set, go!!
When a family experiences a loss, whether it be a relative, a friend or a pet, it can be challenging to navigate through the feelings of those involved. Particularly, for children, it can be a new and confusing experience. Here is some advice for teaching children about death.
First and foremost, respect their emotions. They may be sad, angry, distant, distraught, quiet, loud. They may act out, ignore the loss and ask many questions. They may process it quickly, but more likely they will need time.
Communicate to them in a way that is developmentally appropriate but direct. Don’t lie about what happened. Use the words “died” and “death” not “passed away” or “asleep”. Explain things slowly and over time if a child seems to get too anxious or overwhelmed.
Realize that younger kids do not understand the concept of death. At around age 4, a child can grasp the finality of death. After 5, they can understand that if one is dead, they do not feel, think, move or play as we do. This leads into another stage where the child relates to their own mortality…the realization that they too will die someday. The understanding that all living things will die.
Cry if it comes. Let your child cry if it comes. It’s normal and a vital part of the grieving process. Never say, “be tough”, “wipe those tears away”, “get over it”. Respect your child. Respect their grief. Respect the loss is their own just as yours is your own. Keep the open communication going in the months to come. A child needs to have the freedom to go back to the emotions they initially had or move forward to another stage of grief.
Laugh if it comes. Let your child laugh if it comes. The joy of our children is contagious. It pulls us through the grief and allows them to create a positive space for their grief.
If you are concerned about your child’s grief, adjustment or behavior surrounding a loss, recent or not, please call us. We can help. We are here to support your child’s emotional health as well as their physical health.
Imagine this. Your adorable toddler is finally snoring away in his/her own bed (ok, maybe in your bed, across your pillow with an arm and/or leg angled around your neck, drooling) But, they are asleep! and you are ready to enjoy a hot cup of coffee…wait. nevermind. you have to get up in 6 hours and there is no time for coffee now. maybe you can do some of that laundry? nah. that’s boring. will never finish it until morning anyway. so, that leaves you with making lunches, loading the dishwasher, cleaning up toys or maybe just going to bed. As you grapple with these big decisions, you hear it. the blood curdling screams.
As I write this, I am on my way to the beach with four energetic kids, 8 years and under. Echoing behind me ( in my very hip 12-passenger van, with the faint smell of poop, cheese popcorn and Luca's sweaty feet) is the sound of " are we there yet? what time will we get there? I see palm trees, does that mean we are close? how many more minutes? "All the while the baby keeps breaking free from her car seat. I know I know, you're envious. Isn't vacation with kids so relaxing?
There have been many shifts in medicine over the last decade. Regardless, most of us still continue to practice in a way that focuses on our patients and providing quality medical care. Despite the obstacles, we remain dedicated. There are barriers. One of these being the “pop up” urgent care clinic.
There is no catchy title for this blog with good reason. I believe immunizing our children is a serious topic. It deserves this longer, thoughtful, well-intentioned blog.
As I sat down to write this, I wondered how I could present it in a way that is nonjudgemental and thorough. This topic stirs up lots of drama on social media, at mommy groups and elsewhere. It is a serious concern for us pediatricians, as we see vaccine preventable illnesses kill children. Present day. In our communities. In our local hospitals. My partners and I strongly encourage vaccines. So while I tackle the myths about vaccinating, I have the strong intent to educate and keep you well- informed. Our goal is to create a trusting relationship with you as we guide your children and keep them healthy into adulthood.