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How Teenagers And Children, Act And Feel During Grieving

Be available-physically and emotionlly.

Listen (with your ears, eyes and heart.)

Remember that touch can sometimes say more than words.

Answer ALL of the child's questions as directly and as honestly as you can even if the answer is, "I don't know." This expresses your respect towards the child and the very real feelings he or she is experiencing. Children tend to know when they aren't being told the whole truth; sometimes the answers they will come up with in their own minds are much more frightening than the truth.

Face your own feelings of loss and grief. Sharing these feelings makes you vulnerable and in turn helps the child to feel more at ease becoming vulnerable in expressing his or her feelings. Children need to see the adults in their lives expressing their grief. This gives the child "permission" to grieve as well.

Encourage and define appropriate expressions of grief (talking, drawing, writing, yelling, running, etc.) Provide appropriate and "safe" places for grief expression.

Acknowledge the reality that the loss HURTS! Do not attempt to "resuce" the child (or yourself) from the hurt; allow the hurt to run its course. (This isn't easy!)

Encourage the child to establish his or her own quiet, private place to go to whenever he or she needs to be alone.

Do not isolate or insulate children from death or from grief.

Try not to single out the grieving child for special privileges or compensations. The child needs to feel a part of his her peer group and should be expected to function accordingly. This will help to encourage progession through the grieving process and "getting on with life".

Maintain a daily routine if at all possible. Continuity provides children with a sense of security and stability during a time full of uncertainty.

Try not to expsect too much from yourself or from the child. Temper your expectaions with kindness and understanding.

Continue to be available long after you think the child should be "over it."

What Can I Do About My Grief, As A Teenager or Child?

Keep a journal-of your feelings/grief work. Looking back will help you to see your progression.

Write a letter-to the person who's died; tell them exactly what you're going through or resolve and "unfinished buiness".

Don't Avoid Family Days-plan ahead of time how you will make them special, what rituals will change, what will remain the same and how you'll include the memory of the person who has died.

Tell others-clearly what you want and need.

Eat right and exercise.

Set small goals first-accomplish them-then bigger goals.

Reach out-to others.

Be open-and talk about your feelings.

Informal conseling-(talking to family members, friends, or a clergy person) Formal counseling-(appointments with a professionally trained counselor or therapist)

CRY!-Tears are as natural as laughter and just as healing. Tears, whether shared with others or shed in private, can help release bottled up sadness, anger, guilt, exhaustion and loneliness. It takes a great deal more energy to keep your feelings inside than to let them out.

Use outside stimuli-for a catharsis like a movie, play, music, or book.


Concentrate on breathing deep breaths. Give your body the proper oxygen to function completely.

Rely on friendships and outside help. This NOT a sign of weakenss.

Create a safe place-and go there in person or in your mind.

Write lists-of good things about the person who had died.

Write down-the loving things they said to you that you never want to forget.

Take care of something other than you-a plant, a pet, a friend or neighbor.

Do activities-that YOU enjoy.

Groan-in the shower. Imagine a waterfall, washing away the pain and fatigue, covering you and filling you with peace, strength and protection.

If you feel stuck-do something new.

Pace yourself-Don't have expectations that are too high.

Enjoy-good memories.

Talk out loud-to the person who died.

Consider memorializing-your loved one, whether it be in your home, or somewhere else.

Visit-the place of burial.

Consider-a support group.

Reminisce-over personal belongings or family pictures of the person who died.

Visit nature.

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Hamilton's Academy Of Greif And Loss-515-243-5221