It would be a pity if this interesting, humane, and practical book were read only by parents of recently bereaved children--for two reasons. First, the book is about grief in a broad sense. Its lessons apply not only to the child whose pet, aunt, or parent has died, but also to the child whose parents have divorced, who has suffered a debilitating injury, or who has experienced other forms of traumatic loss. Second, let's face it: every child will suffer a loss at some point, so it behooves parents to be prepared in advance. As the authors say, "our task as parents is to prepare our children to deal with the experiences they will have."
It's unfortunate that the book has what might be considered a common structural flaw in self-help books. All of Part I (about 50 pages) is devoted to examining various myths about grieving and mistakes in dealing with it--for example, that the griever should keep busy and try not to feel bad. This is "good advice about bad advice," but it leaves the reader wondering why the authors didn't choose to get on with the plain old "good advice" on page 1. By Part II, it's already clear which coping techniques the authors will recommend. It would have been better to start there. --Richard Farr
From Publishers Weekly
Coauthors of The Grief Recovery Handbook, John W. James and Russell Friedman join with psychotherapist Leslie Landon Matthews to present When Children Grieve: For Adults to Help Children Deal with Death, Divorce, Pet Loss, Moving, and Other Losses. This compassionate manual addresses the nature of grief, purges common myths the worst of which, the authors claim, is that time heals all wounds (only small, positive actions can heal a person, insist James, Friedman and Matthews) and encourages adults to adopt a more healthy approach to grief themselves, so that they, in turn, can help children.
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