Grief is, understandably, a difficult topic for many parents and children. For everyone, really.
Many children I work with are are dealing with the death of grandparents and other family members, and this is an area I specialize in treating.
Grief can bring up difficult feelings.
There's a wonderful story, Jeremy's Journey of Hope and Healing, that I typically read with my 3-6th grade clients about this. Jeremy's father dies of circumstances that are never specified, and Jeremy blames himself. He experiences many signs of traumatic bereavement - guilt, explosive anger, lack of interest in previous passions, stomach aches and headaches. His brother, on the other hand, is experiencing a more typical bereavement.
Children worry that they are alone in their experience of grief.
As with many stories read by therapists, Jeremy finally feels better after getting help from a counselor - but, more importantly, he connects with a fellow student at his school who also had a parent die. Many times, children just need to know that they are not the only one who feels the way they do. Building connections, with parents, students, and grief groups, can go a long way in helping heal the wounds.
Counseling normalizes their reactions, and builds a toolkit for how to deal with these feelings.
Instead of ignoring grief or assuming that your child - or even yourself! - will just get over the loss eventually, it can be helpful to talk with a professional about all the different feelings or experiences. There is no right way to manage grief after the loss or death of a special someone. Working with a counselor or therapist, though, can help guide children and teens through the grieving process, and build skills for managing the different emotions that arise.
If you or your child or teen has recently experienced a death or loss of a loved one, please call or email me today to talk through if counseling is the right fit for you.