How Children Grieve — Providing Appropriate Care and Support
A child’s ability to process grief is quite different from that of an adult. This is largely the reason why there are misconceptions about how children handle grief and whether they are aware of the feelings associated with loss. The first and the foremost misunderstand is that a child is too young to understand grief, which is simply not true.
The Reality of Childhood Loss and Grief
The death of someone close to them can have deep and lifelong effects on the psyche of a child. According to a study, the depth of grief and despair felt by infants can even be life-threatening. Loss faced during the early years of life can alter the personality of a child long-term. Losing a primary caregiver such as a father or a mother can be especially devastating, no matter how young the child is. The drastic changes in their daily life and the experience of witnessing a funeral and a burial can create instability and uncertainty in a child’s life.
How Children Grieve
Children express their grief in different ways than adults do; their grief process is different depending on the developmental stage they are in. Their lack of understanding of the concept can be a barrier that prevents them from communicating it. Moreover, most young children are not capable of handling the emotions of grief for long, so their grief may show up in spurts. These can be triggered by the smallest things. Please read our blog Why Children Grieve Differently for a more in-depth examination of the grieving process for kids.
There is a common myth among adults that if a child isn’t displaying any outward signs of grief, that means they are coping well with the loss. Grief isn’t external; it’s an internal sense of loss and sadness. Mourning is external—allowing you to express the devastating effects of the loss. Most children don’t know how to grieve and mourn. They may exhibit some subtle signs such as a lack of interest in day-to-day life or taking part in an activity they used to find interesting. They can also seem numb and stop communicating with others as they come to terms with the loss.
Silence Isn’t Always Golden
The important thing to understand when helping children cope with loss is that they are much more resilient than adults think. You might believe you are shielding them from the harsh realities of life but this may make them think that it is not okay to verbalize pain. A heart to heart conversation with them provides a better outcome long-term. Don’t force them, but rather help them express what they are feeling. Talking about it and being able to feel safe in sharing their pain and confused will go a long way in helping them cope.
KikuPal – The Ultimate Grief Support Platform
If your family has just recently experienced a loss and you’re wanting to spend more time with your kids to help them cope, consider KikuPal as a way to free up some time for you and your family. We have everything you need to support you and your loved ones through the process of grief. Our redeemable KikuPoints can be used for meal delivery, house cleaning services, lawn care, and much more so that you can focus on what matters most to you. KikuPal is the best sympathy gift a friend can give as you decide what it you need even months later. Visit our How It Works page to learn more. Kiku means listening in Japanese so we are your listening pal. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for your very own KikuPal. We are here for you!