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

  From Our Experience

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‪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. 

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