Question of the Week

For June 15, 2021

A 6-year-old girl is evaluated 2 months after her father was killed in a motor vehicle crash. Her mother reports that she has repeatedly used the phrase “when daddy comes back” and has had an increase in defiant behavior, including two severe temper tantrums. She has been clingy toward her mother, has been sleeping in her mother's bed, and is now asking to take her security blanket to school.

Which one of the following responses is most appropriate in this situation?

Support the mother and reassure her that her daughter is exhibiting developmentally appropriate bereavement
Encourage the mother to avoid confrontation with her daughter and limit discussion about the father’s death
Recommend referral to a child psychiatrist for maladaptive grief reaction
Encourage the mother to reinforce positive behaviors and manage the negative behaviors with time-outs
Encourage the mother to communicate the finality of death to her daughter