Grief and Children
Submitted by Allison (ALLISONJW)

Grief is a part of everyone’s life and each person deals with this in different ways. Children not only experience grief because of the death of a loved one but can also experience it because of a sudden change, by starting a new stage of life or a loss of a pet.

Like adults children deal with grief in their own way. This can vary from withdrawal, tantrums, crying, anger, sadness, guilt, anxiety and fear. Each of these responses are important to recognise as a children will go through some of these if they are dealing with grief. These are all normal responses and should be recognised as such. If you are at all concerned at how your child is dealing with grief then seek guidance from a professional.

Even though as adults we are often experiencing grief at the same time as the child or our children in care, it is important to remember that the child should be reassured and talked to about what is happening. Often children are over looked and this creates more anxiety for the child.

To help children with dealing with their grief there are many things that you can do:
· Reassure and give extra hugs and attention
· If it is a person that has died never say that they went to hospital and died as this often makes children think that if they go to hospital they will die also.
· If adapting to a new situation slowly introduce the children to this and offer plenty of reassurance.
· Read stories that relate to the situation and that may encourage the child to share how they are feeling.
· Offer experiences such as play dough and clay to allow the children to let out any frustrations that they are feeling. · Offer pencils, crayons and paints to help the children visualise what they are feeling.
· Most of all let them know it is ok to cry and feel the many feelings that are associated with any sudden loss or change.

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