Children’s Natural Grief Responses

These are all NATURAL and NORMAL grief responses. Talking and crying are important parts of the healing process. If these symptoms persist, or increase in frequency, severity or duration, a physician or counselor should be consulted. If you are a friend or family member of a child who is grieving… listen when they need to talk… offer support when they need to cry.

Typical Reactions to the Death:

• Confusion about the circumstances leading to the death

• Trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much

• Change in eating habits (eating more, eating less, or eating more junk foods)

• Crying often or unwilling to cry in front of others

• Decreased interest in (or withdrawing from) friends, family, sports, normal activities

• Difficulty concentrating, or forgetting things

• Health problems such as stomachaches, headaches; frequent colds

• Poor judgment or self-control: Impulsivity or self-destructive behaviors

• Problem with parents, teachers, or other authority figures

• Dreams about the person who died, or an increase in nightmares

• Intrusive thoughts, remembering images about the death or memories of the person

• Changes in academic performance (grades drastically dropping or improving)

• Desire to be reunited with the deceased or suicidal thoughts

Children Suggest these Ways to Cope with Grief Feelings:

• Talk with someone you trust

• Exercise, play sports or dance

• Listen to favorite music or music that reminds you of the person who died

• Find a way to have some fun, see a funny movie, TV show or videogame

• Make a list of your strengths, things you like about yourself

• Practice deep breathing: Count to 10 when you feel stressed, angry and/or overwhelmed

• Take a walk at the beach or somewhere in nature

• Wash your face with cool water

• Scream into a pillow, or into a backpack, or punch a pillow or stuffed toy

• Paint or draw a picture

• Journal, write a poem or letter to the person who died

• Call OUR HOUSE for grief support

 

© OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center

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