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Death of a parent

In custody matters the report of the clinical psychologist is extremely important in the court coming to a decision on what is in the best interests of the minor child.

Both parties must usually agree on who they agree to be appointed.  The psychologist has a much more difficult role when one of the parents has passed away and he/she must decide who that child must live with.

A very young child usually cannot begin to comprehend the death of a parent.  In one of my cases the psychologist found that the young child became very clingy and woke up a lot at night.  This was no doubt due to the loss of the parent.

Some believe that a young child should not be left in a home of mourning after the death of his or her parent.  This no doubt varies from case to case.  In some instances such a young child would be better off living with the grandparent.

In his or her methodology the psychologist must look at the development issues of the child.  This can be dealt with by looking at the expressive language of the child.

A child whose parent passes away will take a long time usually to feel the full effect of the loss.  The loss would usually affect him/her for all of his/her life.

The clinical psychologist should look at what the teachers have to say.  The teachers should analyse the concentration of the child.  The child could also be referred to a paediatrician for a more in-depth examination.

It is important that a child who loses a parent must be kept as stable as possible.  Changes to sleeping arrangements are not always advisable.  The clinical psychologist should observe how the child interacts with all concerned parties.

The clinical psychologist should also look at the mood of the child when adults talk to him/her about the parent who passed away.  The child would also display behavioural signs of attachment with certain adults.

It is indeed very sad when a young child loses a parent.  It is very important for the psychologist to give a thorough analysis and report on who the child should live with after the passing away of a parent.

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