There is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. - Winnie the Pooh
The death of a loved one impacts everyone in the family, including children and teens. Parents and caregivers play an important role in supporting children and teens through the grief journey. This may be particularlychallenging when the entire family is grieving and adjusting to this new reality.
Children and teens experience grief, but how they grieve may differ from adults. Likewise, no two individuals will grieve in the same way. Parents often wonder if their child’s behavior is normal and question how to discuss complicated and emotional topics. In general, children and teens need love, honest communication, routine and support when coping with their feelings.
Young children often think of death as temporary and transient. They might sit with a feeling for a moment but then go outside to play. Some children have intense anger. Other children may become more clinging or feel anxious when their parent is away longer than expected. A child’s story needs to be told, especially as they re-grieve at different developmental stages. Providing reassurance, care and routine promotes healing.
You may find the following handouts created by the Chesapeake Life Center team helpful in learning more about children and grief.
The Chesapeake Life Center’s specialized team of child and family counselors is here to provide support and answer questions that arise during the grief journey. Our services include individual and family grief counseling, a monthly children and teen support groups and weeekend bereavement camps for children and teens whom have lost a loved one. Our goal is to help children and adolescents explore their grief feelings, share memories in a safe environment, and learn that they are not alone.