Sometimes adults minimize the depth or complexity of emotions that children of various ages can experience, especially when it comes to the loss of a loved one. Grief is just as real for a child who is experiencing a loss as it is for the adult. Adults should keep that in mind, and not seek to minimize the loss, or otherwise discount the child’s reaction and emotions.
Myth 1. Children Don’t Grieve
- Children grieve all losses in spurts, several times a day
- They re-grieve throughout all developmental stages
- Children don’t know they’re grieving or understand their feelings
Myth 2. Children Experience Few Losses
- Children experiences losses on a daily basis:
At School: Sports, Grades, Competitions, Self Esteem, Relationships
At Home : Control, understanding, dysfunctional family losses
- 1 of 7 loses a parent to death before age 10
Myth 3. Childhood is the Happiest Time of One’s Life
- A child will go through 6 developmental stages between birth and age 21
- Each stage is marked by a period of continuous change in cognition, feelings, and physical development
- Almost every area of life through each developmental stage is totally controlled by circumstances outside of the influence of the child
Remember, loss teaches an important part of life — with all life comes death. You cannot shelter your child from harm, and you cannot shelter your child from loss, as much as you may life. Instead, look upon the experience as a time to teach an important lesson about life and death.
Gray, T. (2006). The 3 Myths of Grief and Children. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 9, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-3-myths-of-grief-and-children/000623
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.