The death of a significant loved one is a lifelong loss for a child, but it does not have to “derail” his or her future. It is normal for a child to miss the deceased and for feelings of grief to come and go with different levels of intensity for some time after the death. At the same time, it is frustrating when your child is hurting and, obviously, impacted emotionally and mentally, and you are unsure how to help her through her pain. Here are a few suggestions about how to be helpful to a grieving child based on current practice among children’s grief support professionals.
Grief is a normal reaction for a child to the death of someone in his or her life. Grief is a reflection of our awareness that a significant change has happened. Someone who was an important part of our life is no longer here, whether the relationship with that person was caring and loving, or contentious and difficult. The death of someone in our life takes time to fully accept, and even then we continue to miss that person in our own special way. In truth, we do not “get over” a person’s death; we learn to live with it. Grief is not a problem we are trying to fix; it is an experience we are living. A child’s change in moods, or expression of grief, even several years out from a significant death, is a normal part of adapting to this significant change in their world. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Take a moment to enjoy a beautifully written essay by Emerald LaFortune:
The following resources are available to help interacting with kids about loss:
The following additional resources are available for download: