Grieving the loss of a loved one is difficult, especially for a child. When a child loses a loved one to death or incarceration, the loss can have a profound effect on the rest of his or her life.
Emotional, psychological and physical trauma that often come with loss challenge children’s well-being and school performance. Grieving children are likely to feel different, and very alone.
While concealing deep emotional pain, fear and loss of concentration, children are in the pressure cooker of expectations to grow emotionally and academically. They say that seeing friends with parents and parent/child school activities are daily reminders of their own loss.
Children express grief in a different way than adults. They tend to move in and out of intense feelings, rather than sustaining high levels of one emotion for long periods of time. When adults see a grieving child playing or laughing, they may mistakenly believe that the child is “over it”. This perception may influence how much grief support a child receives.
In the United States, approximately 4.8 million children under 18 are grieving the death loss of a parent.
1.5 million children in the US are grieving the loss of a parent to incarceration, sometimes for the duration of their childhood.
Community awareness and support help children heal from loss and excel in life.
The loss of a loved one is a universal human experience. How thoughts and feelings about the loss are expressed vary by culture. We encourage you to adapt information in this site to what fits for your beliefs and customs.
Ron Huxley Resources: I am preparing for some presentations to professionals who work with adoptive families and reminded about one of the most basic of all clinical tools: grief work. One of the most common assumptions is that children grieve in the same was as adults and therefore, the same tools work for them that work for big people. Each intervention should have individualized criteria built into them. Do you know of a child that has suffered a loss? What worked for them to help them cope and heal? Share with us on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/parentingtoolbox or leave a comment below.