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Helping a Child in Grief

02 Jul, 2012

by ChristianWorks

After the death of a loved one, mourning adult family members deal with their own emotional turmoil following the loss.  Because these family members are often overwhelmed by their own grief, the children and adolescents in that family who are also grieving, may be overlooked.

Bereavement counselor, educator and author Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt has written “The Grieving Child’s Bill of Rights” to suggest to mourning adults what is most important for grieving children to remain healthy as the children remember and miss their loved one who has died.  Dr. Wolfelt writes:

l. Children have the right to their own unique feelings about the death.

2. Children have the right to talk about their grief whenever they feel like talking.

3. Children have the right to show their feelings of grief in their own way and time.

4. Children have the right to need other people to help them with their grief.

5. Children have the right to get upset about normal, everyday problems.

6. Children have the right to have unplanned “grief outbursts.”

7. Children have the right to use beliefs about God to help them with their grief.

8. Children have the right to try to figure out why the person died.

9. Children have the right to think and talk about memories of the person who died.

10. Children have the right to move toward and feel their grief, and over time, to heal.

Adapted from “Healing A Child’s Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas for Families, Friends, & Caregivers” by Alan Wolfelt, Ph.D., Center for Loss & Transition

If you know of a grieving child who you are concerned about, the following services are available for grieving children and their families through ChristianWorks for Children:

  • GriefWorks, a free children’s grief support service for ages 5-18 and their adult family members.  For more information call Janet at 972-960-9981 or email jjohnston@christian-works.org.  More information on the groups is at http://grief-works.org.
  • Grief counseling for individuals, couples, and families on a sliding scale fee.  Appointments can be made with one of the 12 Christian counselors available through CounselingWorks by calling Laurie at 972-960-9981 or emailing lgaddy@christian-works.org.  More information on counseling services is at https://www.christian-works.org.
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