Helping Children With Loss

How To Navigate Children And Loss

Helping a child with loss is one of the most influential lessons you can teach him or her. Learning how to deal with loss at an early age will help your child for the rest of their life. When you teach your child the tools I give you, including the Grief Recovery Method, it helps set your child up for a fuller life and a brighter future. By being able to healthily cope with loss and grief, your child will be able to move past difficult times in life, and remember that there is still so much left to enjoy.

As a parent, you want to protect your child at all costs. Unfortunately, you can’t protect your child from certain losses. It’s a very difficult part of life, but it’s inevitable. Giving your child the correct tools and speaking openly about loss can have a significant impact on their life experiences. Even though you can’t always protect your child from harrowing situations, you can supply them with the correct assets to help make those parts of life a bit easier.

What Is Loss?

Loss is an emotion that we will all go through multiple times in life. Loss is the process of losing something or someone. An extremely useful metaphor that I like to use is to imagine reaching out for someone. Imagine being in need and continually calling out their name and stretching out your hands as far as they could go. Even though you’re putting in so much effort to reach that other person, because you desperately need them, they’re not there. That feeling of disappointment and confusion is exactly what someone experiencing a loss can feel.

Types of Loss

Children will go through loss like adults do, but their experience differs from that of adults. It’s very common for children to express loss emotionally. Going through monumental experiences can often feel overwhelming for a child, and sometimes they don’t know how to react. Losses can be social, environmental, economic and physical. Some common losses that children go through include:

Children of different ages will have different experiences with loss, and it can be helpful to know how to guide the conversation depending on the age of your child. Based on your child’s age, you can see reactions to losses in the form of outbursts, anger, lack of motivation, embarrassment and severe anxiety. If your child doesn’t learn a healthy way to deal with loss, then these emotional reactions will carry on into adulthood and can lead to mental health issues and unresolved trauma.

Ways To Talk About Loss

Of course you know your child best, and know how they would like to be approached about topics such as loss. Even though every child is unique and will experience grief differently, you can still take parts of these suggestions to help your child navigate their losses. These are some helpful ways that you can bring up loss and incorporate it into a conversation. I also have a video where I discuss methods for talking about loss with children in more depth.

Validate your child

Validate your child

Acknowledge what your child is feeling and avoid myth statements such as, “I can’t imagine what it feels like.”

Identify and name the loss

Identify and name the loss

Help your child determine what situation brought on the feeling of loss, and if the loss is tangible or intangible. Tangible losses include divorce, or a breakup, while intangible losses include the feeling of losing safety, or losing protection.

Help your child name their feelings

Help your child name their feelings

Give your child the freedom to speak openly and explain to you how they’re feeling. You can take this information and help them identify different feelings, and give a name to the emotions that they’re experiencing.

Help them find their voice

Help them find their voice

Let your child pour their emotions out and listen intently.

Seeing The Light At The End Of The Tunnel | Lighting The Way

I believe that one of my purposes in life is to help people deal with grief and loss in a healthy way. I know from experience that even though difficult times may seem never-ending, there is a brighter future ahead. Taking all the tools that I teach you and passing them on to your children will be extremely beneficial throughout their lives. 

They will be able to identify loss, experience the loss and move past the situation in order to enjoy life again. If you would like to find out more ways to talk to your child about loss, have questions about the Grief Recovery Method or have anything else on your mind, please reach out to me. I look forward to helping you and your family!

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