Five Ways that Children Grieve
June 2nd 2021
With my children’s book, Grandpa’s Secret, I offer a message of healing for people of all ages. I hope to relay, to children and their caregivers, that there is no separation between those who have passed and those who are alive – their energy just takes a different form. As a spirit writer based in Medicine Hat, Alberta, I provide my services throughout Canada and the United States. Through my teachings, one of the things I do is help people learn how to communicate with those who have passed through meditation and prayer. When children are dealing with loss, it’s important to note that their grief may not look the same as that of an adult. It may be difficult to notice when a child is grieving and in need of support. Here are five ways that children grieve and tips on how to support them.
1. Problems sleeping. Nightmares, asking to sleep with you, or being unable to fall asleep are common signs of grieving in children. The best way to deal with these signs are patience and understanding. They just need to know they are not alone.
2. Behaviour changes. Acting sullen or temperamental may be ways your child shows grief. They probably don’t know why they are feeling sad or angry. Providing understanding and helping them understand why they are acting out may help them learn to control their emotions. Now is not the time for discipline, but for understanding.
3. Regression. Your once potty-trained child may suddenly start wetting the bed, or your articulate grade-schooler may start to “baby talk.” These are normal actions your child may not have control of. Provide support and understanding and don’t make too big of an issue. Chances are, the changes will be short-lived.
4. Clinginess. Children experiencing loss may be afraid to leave their caregiver’s side. After all, someone they care about left and didn’t come back, so the fear of it happening again isn’t that far-fetched. Reassure them that you will return. Start with just going in the next room for a few minutes and slowly transition to longer absences. Each time remind them that you came back just as you said you would.
5. Denial. Small children don’t understand that death is permanent. Perhaps on some level they know that death doesn’t mean “gone forever,” but without having someone explain different states of being they may continue to be confused and have trouble understanding that the person who has passed won’t come back in their physical form. They may believe their loved one will show up at any moment. Letting them know that they can still talk to their pet/teacher/family member, etc. even though they can’t see them anymore will help ease the loss.
If your child is grieving the loss of a beloved family member or friend, then the spiritual approach to finding peace may be what they need. Grandpa’s Secret offers an easy to understand, child-centred approach to death and grieving. It is available for purchase on Amazon.
Lots of love,
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