Helping children handle grief

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How to Help Children Cope with Loss

How to Help Children Cope with Loss

By Mira Alicki

21 June 2016

Tell your child as soon as possible

In the past, grief was thought to be appropriate only for adults. Children were often told that a loved one who had passed was ‘resting’, or ‘asleep.’ While our desire to shelter children is laudable, it is important to note that studies have shown that it is important to let children grieve.

16 July 2015

Children dealing with terminal illness

This is the most difficult topic I have researched, but it needs to be discussed in order to help children and parents come together as a family in dealing with the potential death of a child. The idea of children dealing with a terminal illness or disease is difficult for all of us to talk about. A child should never have to deal with any situation alone, especially their own death.

26 September 2014

When a Friend Commits Suicide

The self-inflicted death of a close friend is one of the most devastating experiences a teen can have, yet it is disturbingly common today. The government says that suicide is the third-leading cause of death between the ages of 15 and 24, taking the lives of some 5,000 young people in the United States every year. Think of it: 5,000 kids who had their whole lives ahead of them--suddenly gone.

22 September 2014

Grieving Children: Talking to your kids about loss

When working with grieving children there are many things you can do to help. Here is a simple list to refer to when you identify that your child is grieving.
• Go First. As the adult, you are the leader.
• Tell the truth about how you feel. It will establish a tone of trust and safety. Recognize that grief is emotional, not intellectual, and that sad or scared feelings are normal reactions to all loss events.
• Remember that each child is unique and has a unique relationship to what they hear and believe about loss.

08 September 2014

Helping your children mourn

What’s the best way for you to talk to your children about death? How can you help your children deal with the thoughts and feelings that naturally follow someone’s death?

The fact is that there is no magical or “one size fits all” answer to those questions. Rather, how you deal with those issues partly depends upon details like your children’s age, the nature of the death, and so forth. It also partly depends upon your own experiences with death and grief, and your comfort level in discussing those subjects.

15 August 2014

Ambiguous loss haunts foster and adopted children

Ambiguous loss—a feeling of grief or distress combined with confusion about the lost person or relationship—is a normal aspect of adoption. Parents who adopt children with special needs may feel ambiguous loss related to what the child could have been had he not been exposed to toxic chemicals in utero, or abused and neglected after birth. Birth parents experience loss when a child is removed from their home.

08 August 2014

Explaining pet death to children

By Sarah Probst

"For many children, pet death is the first time they will experience grief over death. Handling a pet's death in a positive way empowers children to handle grief in the future," explains Julia Brannan, veterinary student and student director of the Companion Animal Related Emotions (C.A.R.E.) Helpline at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. "Being honest with children is the most important factor."

18 July 2014

How to Talk to Your Preschooler About Death

by Mary VanClay

Death is one of the hardest subjects to broach with young children, especially when you're struggling to deal with your own sorrow. But death is also an inescapable part of life, and children want to understand it and find ways to grieve that feel natural.

Pre-schoolers are aware of death from early on. They hear about it in fairy tales, see it on TV, and encounter dead bugs, birds, or squirrels on the sidewalk or roadside. Some children may have already experienced the death of a pet or a family member.

11 July 2014

How Do Children React to the Thought of a Parent’s Death?

Each child reacts to this complicated and heart-breaking issue in their own way. The answer depends on many factors, such as the child’s personality, his or her relationship to the sick parent, the age of the child, his or her maturity, and the child’s developmental needs—along with how close or distant the death is. Some children refuse to believe that their parent is seriously ill and demonstrate this in their behaviour.

04 July 2014


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