Communicating with Children By Rachel Fearnley

This is not a book that will be rushed off the book shelves of every book shop. However, it is an important piece of work which should be a staple on the shelves of most establishments and social care practices where there are parents reaching the end of life and children who will be left behind.The author expresses the importance of communication and offers some examples where communication and lack of communication have had an influence of the way children have managed their grief and the knowledge, if it was shared, of their parent’s imminent demise.

Rachel Fearnley looks at the different communication methods and whether they are effective. She looks beyond the actual death of the parent to life without them from the child’s perspective.

She sets out some vignettes for the reader to work through and use as points for professional discussion. There are references to legislation and current events as well as a template of behaviours for professionals to follow.

Whilst this topic is not a joyous one, it is a necessary part of the life that a lot of children are living. There is an emphasis on respect for different cultures, the use of stories to explain what is happening and above all, the importance of truth and realism.

Most children will have an inkling of the seriousness of their parent’s condition but may be too frightened of the other adults’ reactions to say anything.

Hospices and hospital must keep a copy of this handy.

Fearnley, Rachel (2012) Communicating with Children –when a parent is at the end of life
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
ISBN: 9781849052344

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