Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Sheryl Sandberg Deals with Grief

In the past I have had occasion to take issue with what I considered bad advice being offered by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Now, having recently lost her husband unexpectedly Sandberg is offering some good advice about how to deal with grief.

We join her in mourning the loss of a good man who died far too soon and we all sympathize with her. She has become a member, as she put it, of a club no one wants to join.

Being a public figure, Sandberg does not have the luxury of mourning in private. Thus, the media reports on her way of dealing with a tragic loss.

Grieving, she says, is about honoring the memory of her husband. And that begins with maintaining family dinners.

One friend also told me that he canceled a planned work dinner last night to have dinner with his kids instead. We always went around the table and each of us said our best and worst of the day. The family rule is that you have to have a best but a worst is optional. I think there is no better way for any man or woman to honor the memory of my beloved husband.

The routine provides a sense of security. In addition, and importantly, requiring children to share what was best in their day is wonderful advice. It’s applied cognitive psychology. We should all applaud it.

Sandberg has now returned to work, the better to maintain a semblance of her normal work rhythm. But, for now, she will only work when her children are in school. She has cancelled her travel arrangements. She attends her daughter’s soccer games and is home when the children are home.

The advice she received from a psychologist she consulted was excellent. Re/code reports:

Sandberg decided to return to Facebook — rather than taking a leave — on advice from child psychologists who suggested that kids often benefit by trying to get back to typical routines quickly.

Credit is due to the psychologists who offered excellent advice and to Sandberg who took it.

1 comment: said...

Fortunately, when my husband died suddenly, we had enough money for me to stay home with our two sons. Those were tough times to negotiate with all the attendant fears that children commonly have about another parent passing too. Having done post-doctoral work in child development, after receiving a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, I knew there was nothing more important for me to do in my lifetime! Buying used sports equipment never bothered us!