Jessica Shepherd, Author and Illustrator of Grandma, was asked to write a piece for Carewatch on the subject of discussing dementia with children...

"In writing this article I have been reflecting upon the importance of heart to heart communication in promoting positive mental health in children, and indeed people of any age. It isn't a new proposal, most understand the logic that it feels better when we share our struggles, but sometimes taking that first step to opening our hearts and initiating dialogue is the biggest challenge of all.

We can particularly struggle when children are involved. As a society we feel a high level of responsibility to protect children from fear or sadness and as a result we often try to hide them away from painful changes, even those happening close to them. But protecting them too much could actually hinder their ability to overcome hardships in the future.
It is important to remember that the children we are raising are growing into adults. Life can be hard. It is our duty to help equip them with the skills, wisdom and courage to overcome even the most difficult aspects of life.

We don't want them to hide away or feel defeated when they are inevitably faced with some kind of difficulty. We hope they will feel strong enough to battle through it, growing, learning and deepening their compassion for themselves and others as a result.

I am not a trained expert, but I would like to encourage every person to use vulnerability, through difficult times, to build deeper heart to heart connections with others, and to have the courage to stay committed to important conversations, even when they feel uncomfortable.

I have made a few suggestions, but please keep in mind that, although I do practice being a human being myself every single day, I'm not a psychologist or a therapist. It is important to always trust your own wisdom in what works and doesn't work for you and to feel able to explore communication techniques freely and seek help from professionals if needed."

Read the full article here: http://www.carewatch.co.uk/blog/explaining-dementia-to-a-child/18699/#Jess

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