The death of a parent, sibling, or someone close can be devastating for children and teens of all ages. Children experience a range of intense emotions including sadness, anger, fear, and guilt. They often feel isolated and unable to talk about the death with peers who have not had a similar experience. They also may be reluctant to share their grief with surviving family members for fear of upsetting them. Too often, children end up grieving alone.
“What surprised me most was how comfortable I felt in my group. I actually looked forward to going to the meetings and working on all the projects we did. My group helped me feel like I wasn’t the only one feeling like I did after my mom died.” – Justine, 16
“The group was helpful to my children because they talk more openly about their dad and his death. They don’t feel they are the only ones who have experienced the death of a parent. I saw a huge change for the better in each of my children.” – Elizabeth, Parent of 3
Our 12-week curriculum-based program provides services for the entire family, including pizza dinner before the sessions begin! Children ages 4.5 through 17 who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, or someone close in the last two years are placed in grief support groups with others their age. Meanwhile, adults participate in a parent/guardian group. Highly trained group leaders support the children as they make their way through the grieving process using grief-related art projects, writing exercises, and play. Activities are designed specifically to help children hold on to their precious memories, express thoughts and feelings, adapt to the many changes in their lives, and memorialize their person who died.
The programs will be open for enrollment twice a year in the fall and spring. While children attend their groups, adults will be encouraged to participate in a clinician-led educational group to address the challenges of parenting children who are grieving, offer opportunities to understand the activities in which their children will participate, and connect with other adults through their shared experiences.
Groups will all take place on Thursday evenings every other week at both our West LA and our Woodland Hills centers.
Children’s groups always end with a ritual – a gentle squeeze of friendship and support.
Group members stand in a circle, with hands crossed and held in front of them, and the squeeze travels around the circle one person at a time.
The squeeze is in recognition of the thoughts and feelings shared in group and a way of sending each other support.
In OUR grief support groups, children ages 4.5 through 18, who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, or someone close in the last two years, join groups organized by the age of the child.
Using grief-related art projects, writing exercises, and play activities, highly trained group leaders support the children as they make their way through their grieving process.
Learn more about our new Children and Teen's Grief Support Groups for Fall 2023 today.