How to Help a Grieving Child

This is going to be a short article because I’m not sure of the legalities of me just pasting an article I found online. I don’t want to infringe on anyone’s rights. But children go through grief cycles too, and as adults we often downplay their grief because it is not a situation that would cause us grief.

Sometimes, when a child hurts, the pain and heartache get shoved down and ignored. The child may not feel comfortable talking about his/her feelings or what’s bothering them so they internalize and take their grief, anger, frustration, etc. out on others. It can cause physical symptoms. It may even spiral out of control.

If you have a child who complains of severe physical pain, or is mean-spirited, snide, negative, or bullying, there may be something serious bothering that child and they don’t know how to talk about it, or what to do with the feelings, or how to cope with the situation. It is VITAL that someone find a way to get that child to open up. It would need to be someone that child trusts, is comfortable with, and who would have the wisdom to be able to help.

I found the article by searching: How to counsel a grieving child.

Here is a list of professional people who wrote the article that I am not at liberty to copy.

Baker, J.E. & Sedney, M.A. (1966). How Bereaved Children Cope with Loss: An Overview. In Corr, C. & Corr (Eds.), Handbook of Childhood Death and Bereavement. New York: Springer Publishing Company.

Christ, G.H. (2000). Healing Children’s Grief: Surviving a Parent’s Death from Cancer. New York: Oxford University Press.

Fogarty, J. (2000). The Magical Thoughts of Grieving Children: Treating Children with Complicated Mourning and Advice for Parents. Amityville, New York: Baywood Publishing Company.

Garber, B. (1966). Construction and Reconstruction in a Case of Parent Loss. In Altschul, S. (Ed.) Childhood Bereavement and its Aftermath. Madison, Ct.: International Universities Press.

Worden, W. (1996). Children and Grief: When a Parent Dies. New York: Guildford Press.

© Copyright 2009 by Beth Patterson, MA, LPC, therapist in Denver, Colorado. All Rights Reserved.