Children and Grief
When a child experiences grief, we are here to help you find the words to discuss death and dying with your child. Our staff is very dedicated the children of our community, and will take every opportunity to provide healing support and understanding to every child in need. One very important way to increase awareness of children’s needs is to dispel the myths that surround their grief.
Myths About Children and Grief
1. Young children do not grieve. Children grieve at any age. Their grief can be manifested in many ways depending on their age, developmental stage, and life experiences. Children often do a very good job at grieving intensely for a time and then taking a break. The break is usually in the form of play. Adults often mistake a child’s play as a sign that the child isn’t grieving, which is just not true.
2. Children should go to funerals. Children should not go to funerals. Both statements are myths. Children, even very young ones, should have a choice whether they want to attend the funeral. Each child handles their loss differently and should be allowed to grief as they wish. For their choice to be a meaningful one, they need information, options, and support.
3. Children get over loss quickly. Adults never get over a significant loss so why should children? The truth is that no one really gets over a significant loss. We can learn to live with the loss and adapt to the reality that the one we love is no longer here, but we can never forget the intense feeling of loss. Children may revisit their loss at different stages in their development and as their understanding of the loss changes, their grief may arise again.
4. Children will be permanently scarred by a significant loss. Children, like most people, are resilient. A significant loss can affect a child’s development but adequate support and continuing care can help them deal with their feelings of grief appropriately.
5. Encouraging children to talk about their feelings of grief is the best way to work through their loss. It is important to allow children to talk through their feelings and to promote open communication. However, other approaches, such as art, play, music, and dance allow children to express their feelings.
Children and adolescents may use these methods to express their grief and adapt to their loss with a more positive outcome. Working through grief and adapting to loss is important for children. Studies have shown that children and adolescents that have unresolved grief are at a higher risk for developing depression and anxiety as adults.
It’s important then that family members recognize the needs of grieving children and help them access the resources they need.
At our funeral home, our Children's programs are very close to our heart and we hope that you will take advantage of them if the need arises in your family. Please contact us to learn about the Children’s programs at our funeral home and in our community.
For more information on children and grief, we have provided a list of books shown below, and information on Children's Grief Connection, a grief program for children.
Children's Grief Connection
Because children are so special, we are very proud to support Children’s Grief Connection, formerly known as Camp Amanda-Minnesota. Children’s Grief Connection is a nonprofit organization that works in partnership with Minnesota’s funeral directors to provide grief programs for children and teens who have experienced the death of someone important to them. It is specially designed to provide the support and information children need, in a way they can understand.
Founded and supported by members of the Minnesota Funeral Directors Association the Children's Grief Connection provides all its services and programs FREE of charge.
The Children's Grief Connection of Minnesota mission is to bring hope and healing to Minnesota's grieving children.
Reading List for Children, Adolescents, & Those Who Care for Them
After a Parent's Suicide - Margo Requarth, MN MFT Helping children heal
A Child's View of Grief-Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. For parents and other caregivers
Brave Bart-Caroline Sheppard A story for traumatized and grieving caregivers
But I Didn't Say Good-bye: Helping Children and Families After a Suicide- Barbara Rubel
Don't Despair on Thursdays-Adolf Moser
Explaining Death to Children - Earl A. Grollman
Facing Change - Donna O'Toole
Falling apart and coming together again in the teen years - Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph. D A book about change for teens Healing Your Grieving Heart for Kids- 100 Practical ideas, simple advice, and activities for children after death
Healing Your Grieving Heart for Teens - Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. 100 Practical ideas, simple advice, and activities for teenagers after death
How It Feels When a Parent Dies-Jill Krementz
I Heard Your Mommy Died-Mark Scrivani & Susan Aitken
I Heard Your Daddy Died-Mark Scrivani & Susan Aitken
I Miss You: A First Look at Death-Pat Thomas & Leslie Harker
Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children-Bryan Mellonie & Robert Ingpen
Ready...Set...R.E.L.A.X.-Jeffery S. Allen & Roger J. Klein For ages 5-13. Exercises and activities to help children overcome anxiety
Sarah's Journey-Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.
Sad Isn't Bad-Michaelene Mundy & R. W. Alley
What's Heaven - Maria Shriver
When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death-Laurie Krasny Brown & Marc Brown