Children and Grief Counselling
Though they may not show it in the same way, children may grieve just as intensely as adults when they suffer a loss in their lives. There are ways that adults can help children cope with grief, and grief counselling for children may be an option. There are also a number of support organisations to which bereaved children and their families can turn as needed.
How Children Display Grief And BereavementChildren are usually not be able to verbalise their grief as an adult would, and their understanding of loss and grief are usually not as sophisticated. But this does not mean that children do not experience grief. Instead, watching children’s actions can often reveal a great deal about their emotions. Some children may become destructive, others may become withdrawn. Changes in sleep patterns, eating habits or concentration/work habits can also be signs of grief. Grieving children may also be more emotional than usual, less emotional than usual, want to talk about the deceased, not want to talk about the deceased or continue on as if nothing has happened.
Helping Children Cope With GriefThere are so many possible ways that children can display grief and bereavement that it can be confusing for the adults in their lives. Adults should always provide a safe environment for children and their emotions, but will likely want to encourage children to channel these emotions.
Encouraging children to draw, paint, write stories or talk about their feelings are all ways in which adults can help children open up, and it may be that the adults themselves will want to discuss certain memories or tell children that they are having similar emotions to help them discuss their own thoughts and feelings. At the same time, helping children stick to a fairly familiar routine is also important so that they don’t feel that too much has changed or that their lives are too out of control.
Grief Counselling for ChildrenMany children find comfort and understanding following the death of a loved one by attending grief counselling sessions. Grief counsellors, also known as bereavement counsellors, give children the chance to express their emotions in a safe environment that is an alternative to their own homes.
Many children find it easier to open up in a “neutral” environment, or away from relatives if they believe that they might upset them by discussing their feelings. Trained, experienced counsellors who work with bereaved children will have a variety of activities and even small ceremonies to help children work through their grief and will be able to supply adults with further information and resources for helping their children.
Support Organisations For Bereaved ChildrenA variety of support organisations exist for bereaved children in the UK. Cruse Bereavement Care, the Child Bereavement Trust, the Child Bereavement Network, and Winston’s Wish are all organisations dedicated to supporting bereaved children. Local GPs, schools and colleges and religious organisations will also likely have further information about support organisations for bereaved children in a given area.
Children often display their grief in different ways, and there are many actions that adults can take to support them. Grief counselling for children is also an option, and contacting a support organisation for bereaved children will help families find experienced grief counsellors for children in a given area.