Grief in Children and Teens
"Children's experience of grief varies depending on the type of loss and the developmental stage of the child. Moving to a new town may precipitate a grief response that is mild and transient, while grief from loss of a parent threatens the foundation of the child's world. Young children express grief in vastly different ways from teens and adults. A child's grief is complicated because it is linear, circular, and developmental."
This quote is from Ask.com by Kimberly L. Keith. The entire article is recommended, especially the part about developmental levels in children and grief.
How Teens and Pre-Teens Express
The following are only a few possible responses to grief in teens
- Physical symptoms (headaches, stomachaches, sleeping and eating disorders, hypochondria)
- Wide mood swings
- Hopelessness and helplessness
- Withdrawal from adults
- Problems focusing
Helping the Grieving Pre-Teen and Early Adolescent
- Accept emotional instability
- Encourage them to recognize their painful feelings
- Steer them toward creative and physical activities as outlets for powerful emotions
- Help them identify feeling
- Respond with empathy
- Be truthful and direct in explaining details of loss.
- Allow preteens to make choices that are not harmful
Helping Children with Grief
At Bill Jacobs LPCC, we have found sand tray therapy and our special brand of play therapy to be helpful to grieving children.
A child's pain is difficult for most adults to deal with. Consequently, children sometimes don't get the help they need to grieve. (See the vignette in "Not Allowed to Grieve.")
Don't let this happen to your grieving child. Come to Bill Jacobs LPCC for a consultation on how to help your child through the loss of a loved one.
More About Children and Grief
Important facts about grief.
How to tell if you or someone you know is grieving.
Sometimes if the natural grieving process is inhibited, grief can take unhealthy forms.
How we help with complicated grief.
Research shows there are a number of things grieving people can do to help themselves.
Facing pain in children is difficult for adults. Consequently, children are sometimes not given the help they need to process their grief.
Where to find help in Albuquerque.
An example of unresolved grief.