Both adults and children may suffer from complicated grief. Strategies that are effective for adults often do not work as well for children. Individuals suffering from complicated grief typically feel overwhelmed, unable to adapt, engage in behavior that is repetitive, or experience extensive interruptions of the healing process that abnormally lengthens their grieving. For children, complicated grief may be presented by the complete absence of grief reactions. Although many strategies exist to aid those suffering from complicated grief, the use of humor may be used to aid both children and adults be more receptive to other forms of grief management. Humor is an effective way to provide social support for children who are experiencing complicated grief. Humor enhances the use of other techniques ranging from story-telling to humor exist for aiding children who are grieving. Support from adults is required for children to maintain their self-esteem and to manage loss. Children need help to make choices. Children need to say goodbye by writing a letter, making a picture, sending up a balloon with a message to their loved one. Adults need to support their efforts. Humor and laughter allow children and their families and friends to escape, even if only for a short time, to a world where pain, suffering, impending loss, or death, do not exist. Yet most caregivers and professionals do not use humor and laughter as a therapeutic approach. When humor and laughter are used appropriately and with sensitivity, in the right time and right place, taking into account the child’s culture, cognition, religious beliefs, and developmental level, the effects can be very positive for the child.
"Using Humor with Dying and Bereaved Children,"
Great Plains Sociologist: Vol. 24:
1, Article 2.
Available at: https://openprairie.sdstate.edu/greatplainssociologist/vol24/iss1/2