The Aftermath: When God Takes a Child

child bereavement,Shattered Lives, Donna R. Gore

Child bereavement… It’s the most paralyzing feeling in the world…. In the face of family death,   inexplicable violence, serious illness, natural disaster, it matters not… We as adults are in charge.   However, frequently we do not have answers, although we have the best intentions. To assist in bridging this painful gap in knowledge, to focus and maintain a balance concerning prevention, response and the need for the often overlooked parameter of long-term recovery, is Dr. David Schonfeld.  Dr. Schonfeld is a developmental-behavioral pediatrician who, among his many accomplishments, established the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement following the terrorist mass murders of September 11th.;

(More links at the end of this blog) 

Although the horror of the Newtown killings is barely three months old, Dr. Schonfeld has lent his expertise to Governor Daniel P. Malloy’s Sandy Hook Advisory Commission as part of his on-going efforts to guide those engulfed in loss…

Ladyjustice and Delilah interviewed David Schonfeld about these very difficult topics on “Shattered Lives” …as a researcher, an MD and a father…  Please join us on the path to greater understanding….

To listen to the Podcast CLICK HERE

  • Introduction to our guest;
  • An overview of his career and areas of expertise;
  • School preparation and family crisis- How to support children everywhere;
  • When is training most useful?
  • A question of “when” with child bereavement;
  • Prevention, response and the overlooked recovery phase;
  • Recommendations for acute grieving… When to intervene;
  • Coping strategies… A discussion of children and coupled relationships;
  • Dr. Schonfeld’s view of marriage;
  • Resiliency- not an all or nothing….
  • An analogy –Bereavement and child birth;
  • A loss as a life  changing event ;
  • Death as the worse thing that happens…. Painful survival versus death;
  • Delilah asks about the overexposure of violence and facing a real life situation?
  • Children’s coping and overexposure to “fake violence” 
  • Delilah asks about children and gang violence;
  • Counter phobic behavior and/or reactive risk taking…What’s it about?
  • Perception versus reality and coping;
  • Not giving up…..a search to make parts of their lives safe…
  • A story about September 11th – Asking a question seeing an adult in distress; 
  • “Inviting children” – a myriad of ways….
  • The importance of being honest with children;
  • Leading by example…. What adults know and don’t know;
  • David’s true role immediately after a traumatic event;
  • Discussion of the physical environment and what changes should be made;
  • A Sandy Hook example… risk versus benefit;
  • Who’s in charge?  The benefit of 25 year’s experience;
  • Commemorative activities and Memorialization-Important considerations;
  • Touching examples of meaningful memorializations;
  • Timing of commemorations and memorializations;
  • Limit some of the spontaneous permanent memorials for awhile…. BUT give kids a way to express;
  • Contact info:  Free downloads for how to talk to children, how to support staff, scripts to be used etc….


Questions You May be Asking When Listening to this Podcast

  • Where does school crisis response have its origins?
  • What is “just in time training?”
  • Are communities focused on the “right” issues when tragedy occurs?
  • Normative bereavement and complicated mourning….What’s the difference?
  • How can we meet the needs of couples who share tragedy?
  • Bereavement – Is it a mental illness? 
  • Overexposure to violence and video games… Can children cope better or worse when the real event occurs? 
  • How do we teach children that a violent death is not a normal experience?
  • How do children begin to process mass tragedy like September 11th?
  • What are ways to initiate children’s’ ability to deal with the loss? 
  • What are the priorities immediately after a traumatic event?
  • Why is empowerment at the local level so important?
  • Should adults select activities for memorialization – Why-Why not?


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