Bonnie Support Services

Bonnie Support Services

How to Help Kids Understand Grief and Loss

I’ve been working with a beautiful family who have experienced a significant loss and disruption in their lives. Despite this big change, the Mum, in particular, is doing an amazing job in helping her kids process the loss so that they can still see a bright future.

Experiencing grief is never easy and can be difficult for kids and young people to fully comprehend their emotions. Reactions can include a range of difficult emotions, from shock to anger, disbelief, guilt, and profound sadness.

In this family’s case, the kids are experiencing all of these emotions while at the same time adjusting to a new and different city, one far away from their friends, family and their previous life.

I can see Mum knows this, and she is so lovely and well-attuned to what her children need. She speaks to them often, asking how they are feeling, reassuring them of her love for them. She says to them that the loss is not their fault and that it’s important to look forward to all the possibilities life has to offer including friendships, education, and other beautiful moments. 

But what has been most beautiful to watch is how Mum plays and laughs with her children, chasing them through their house and tickling them until they crack up in big laughs. There is often music in the background, and the feeling in the room is bright and happy. Each of these acts serve as a boost of loving and happy energy for the kids, so important in the early days of their development. This type of attention also helps re-establish bonds and secures attachment between Mum and kids that may have been fractured. I am so proud of this client, she’s a great example for Mums who are trying to help their children understand loss.

Because, as humans, we will all experience loss at some point in our lives – the loss of a relationship, a parent, a job, or a previous life after going through a significant change. Children may grieve the loss of family members they have left behind, or who have passed away, their school and their friends, their parents, and the rituals they had been included in.

How we support children through this can look different for each family. It may include letting children speak about their feelings, recalling memories, and reassuring them that it is okay for them to feel the way they do and that their thoughts and feelings are normal. 

We can also help children continue to engage in rituals from the past and activities they used to engage in. We provide them with lots of love and help them feel like they belong. 

I am always inspired by the inner resilience I see within clients and families. Their ability to find hope and optimism despite all that has happened. And for those struggling, I hope you find your strength and keep going, because as the poet Rumi says…  

“One day your soul will carry you to the Beloved.
Don’t get lost in your pain,
know that one day your pain will become your cure.

Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.

The wound is the place where the light enters you.

Whoever finds love beneath hurt and grief
disappears into emptiness with a thousand new disguises.

What goes comes back. Come back.
We never left each other.

Dance, when you’re broken open.
Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance, when you’re perfectly free.

Your body is away from me,
but there is a window open
from my heart to yours.

But listen to me:
for one moment, quit being sad.
Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you.

What hurts you, blesses you.
Darkness is your candle.

Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes.
Because for those who love with heart and soul
there is no such thing as separation.

Grief can be the garden of compassion.
If you keep your heart open through everything,
your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.”

– Rumi

Written by Alison M

Image via Canva

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