Young Children

In families grief is unique and individual to every person.  As we choose to be empathetic, understanding and patient with each other we can help the healing process and grow closer together in the midst of tragedy. Young children may need help understanding the concept of death.  They also may struggle retaining memories of their lost loved one.  Because of their immature verbal skills they may have difficulty expressing emotions and understanding their own feelings.  Grief is often displayed in behavior,  outbursts, insecurities.

Forgotten Mourners
The death of a loved one can be an overwhelming experience for anyone. For a child, whose entire experience of the world is defined by their connection to a handful of people, the death of one of those people can be isolating, confusing, life-altering … devastating. While other family members are overcome with their own experience of grief and loss, children often become forgotten mourners.

  Talking about Grief & Loss

5 Parenting Tips for Widows

In an interview with Karen Millsap from Widows at Work, Veronica Clarke shares what she’s learned about parenting her 4 children as a widow. She admittedly didn’t do everything “right” but that’s what’s so great about her story. She was able to learn WITH her children and in this video she shares the most important lessons.

  From the Editors Desk

  1. Stages of Development and Grief

    The age and developmental stage of the child is one of the factors that determines how a child deals with grief.  Knowing and understanding these phases can help parents identify grieving patterns in their children, remain patient and hopeful in the process, and provide the best care for their grieving...
  2. The Grief Process of a Child

    Because of their physical, emotional, mental and social immaturity, children do not react to loss in the same ways as adults. Ways that children’s grief is different from adults: The NCI’s PDQ cancer information summary about Grief, Bereavement, and Coping with Loss listed the following: Children may seem to show grief...
  3. Daddy Stories, and Daddy Bears

    I have had many people ask me in person and through emails about how to help children grieve and understand death.  This post is intended to give you a glimpse into my experience with small children grieving.  These memories are from 8-10 years ago…so keep that in mind.  We are no longer in...

  From Our Experience

<hr />
‪I wish I would have known that my kids would grieve completely differently than I did. All three of my kids were pretty young when their dad died. My oldest was 15 and my youngest was 6. All of them had delayed grief. They seemed “fine-ish” during the first year. The second year was absolute torture for them and they kind of fell apart.‬ ‪Grief counseling has helped. But it is still hard and we are almost 4 years out. TIME is the best help. I work to help my kids understand their dad is still a part of their lives!‬ ‪We talk about dad EVERY SINGLE DAY.‬

 Factors Affecting How a Child Copes with Loss

Although grief is different for each child, several factors can affect the grief process of a child:

  • The child’s age and stage of development.
  • The child’s personality.
  • The child’s previous experiences with death.
  • The child’s relationship with the deceased.
  • The cause of death.
  • The way the child acts and communicates within the family.
  • How stable the family life is after the loss.
  • How the child continues to be cared for.
  • Whether the child is given the chance to share and express feelings and memories.
  • How the parents cope with stress.
  • Whether the child has ongoing relationships with other adults.

Children at different stages of development have different understandings of death and the events near death. See the post Stage of Development and Grief for more information. – from National Cancer Institute: PDQ® Grief, Bereavement, and Coping With Loss.

  Real Stories

 Effective parenting means taking the time to listen and to understand the hearts of our children so that we can grow together in faith, friendship, and love. Even as we ourselves are hurting, focusing on grieving children will in the long run lead to more rapid healing for the entire family. Maintaining a secure environment at home where children feel loved is critical in helping them move through grief. 

  More From Our Blog on Helping Young Children

  1. I’m Ok. . .

    I’m Ok. . .

       Yeah, I am ok. That is what I will tell you if you ask me how I am doing. I am ok. And for the most part I really am. Bart’s passing was not expected, but I have received some very special/sacred answers to my prayers letting me know that...

    Read More

  2. Hiding Scars

    Hiding Scars

    Bailey reminded me yesterday that today would mark the one year anniversary of her blender accident. It isn’t really a day I ever want to think about again, but the lessons I learned through that experience have stayed with me. I hope I never forget that conversation in our laundry room...

    Read More

  3. No Excuses

    No Excuses

    A few months ago we had a landscape designer draw out a vision of what we wanted our yard to one day be. She drew up a rough draft and printed out a large copy to go over and discuss different options of layout and plant ideas. We spent hours...

    Read More

  4. Let it Go

    Let it Go

    This story seemed fitting tonight as I was getting ready for bed, thinking of all the things I have been working so hard to let go, and excited for a day of healing this weekend to spend more time facing them.  The trial had been over for many months. Life was starting...

    Read More