Children, like all of us, continually experience loss. As much as they may celebrate their increased capacity to ‘do stuff’ like riding a bicycle or attending school, they also feel the loss of the special attention and privileges they had when they were younger and more dependent.
They feel loss when their family moves, when people in the family leave home, when pets die, when the boy or girl they like doesn’t like them, or when their best friend finds a new No. 1. They feel loss when holiday traditions change or vacations are suspended due to financial strain on the family. They feel loss when Grandpa can’t pick them up and twirl them around anymore, and when Grandpa dies.
Learning to grieve for losses great and small is a critical skill in a child’s healthy development. Children who do not learn to grieve are unequipped for life, as life and loss are indivisible.
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