It can be very upsetting for a parent or caregiver when a child is hurting after the death of a special person who died, especially when the parent or caregiver are grieving themselves. It is important to know that children do grieve and they grieve differently from adults. It takes time for a child to fully understand and accept the person’s absence. We cannot take away grief. We can only teach children how to cope with their feelings about the loss. How do you know when a child is struggling with their grief? You may see mood fluctuations, alteration in their school performance or behavior changes.
So how can you help your child? Be truthful. Do not avoid words like death and dying. Children often know more than we think, and honest conversation based upon a child’s developmental age is helpful. Every child’s grief is as unique as the relationship they had with the person who died. It is important for a parent or guardian to reassure the child that they are not alone; family and friends can help them. Also remember, grief knows no calendar. A child, like an adult, can experience grief over and over again. They may benefit from adult guidance and connecting with other children who have also experienced a loss.
The Hospice of CNY Grief Center offers children’s grief groups throughout the year. If you feel that your child can benefit from this help and would like to register for the next group or have additional questions, please call the Grief Center at 315-634-2208.