Helping Children Cope With Loss, Death, and Grief

When A Child Grieves And How To Help Them Deal With Grief

Grief whether it’s a parent, grandparent, sibling or much-loved pet who dies, the grief a child feels can be overwhelming. By encouraging the child to share their feelings and giving them time to grieve, you can help them to say goodbye.

Grief is very individual and there is no ‘right’ way to feel. Children might withdraw, mope around, become more troublesome, have temper outbursts, change their appearance or cry. Some grieve openly right away. Others take a while to show their feelings. A child’s grief may not be constant as feelings come and go repeatedly.


Answer the questions they ask. even the hard ones.

Kids learn by asking questions. When they ask questions about a death, it’s usually a sign that they’re curious about something they don’t understand. As an adult, a couple of the most important things you can do for children is to let them know that all questions are okay to ask, and to answer questions truthfully. Be sensitive to their age and the language they use. No child wants to hear a clinical, adult-sounding answer to their question, but they don’t want to be lied to either. Often the hardest time to be direct is right after a death. When a child asks what happened, use concrete words such as “died” or “killed” instead of vague terms like “passed away.” A young child who hears his mother say, “Dad passed away” or, “I lost my husband,” may be expecting that his father will return or simply needs to be found.

Remember other children may hear their parents talking about the death if it is known in the local community and speak to your child about what has happened. It is important your child hears information from you first. Do not hide the fact that you are upset and miss the person who has died so that they can feel comfortable showing their feelings too.

There are a number of resources that can support and help children, including specialist organisations and picture and storybooks. There are also helplines and websites for teenagers and young adults wanting to talk with someone about the issues they face after a bereavement.


When Grief Comes Home During the Holidays, How Do You Manage?

Grief during the holiday season beginning with Thanksgiving and going through Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year is a stressful time for all people, but particularly for those going through the seasons of grief after the loss of a loved one.

The holidays bring back memories of past holidays and hold much in the way of joyful and sorrowful feelings. Those who have lost a loved one fantasize that everyone else is surrounded by family and friends and is having a wonderful time, while they are feeling alone and miserable. This fantasy keeps them from creating their own plans or asking others to spend time with them in ways that will be helpful to them.


Ways to Cope with Grief Individually at the Holidays

Individuals who are bereaved may also need to be extra gentle with themselves during the holidays. The following are some suggestions:

  • When others offer help, accept it. The holidays are a draining time of year for most people and those who are grieving are already short on energy.
  • Think about your belief system. Is now the time to strengthen your ties to your religious community? Loosen your ties? Or perhaps change your beliefs so some extent to fit with any new lessons you may have learned from your grief.
  • Take care of yourself. Avoid overindulgence in alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and sweets. Grief takes its toll on one physically, as well as emotionally. Try to avoid further stressing the body by eating nutritious food.
  • Do something special for yourself. Buy yourself a gift in memory of your loved one, perhaps something you think they would want you to have. Pay someone to clean your house. Get a massage. See a good movie.
  • Allow yourself time to cry.
  • Allow yourself to be alone when you would like to be. Many people who grieve feel guilty about wanting to “cocoon” during the holidays, but it may be seen as a natural way of helping us slow down when grief is taking its toll on us.
  • Decide with whom to spend your time. Spend time with those people who are able to be supportive. Decrease the amount of time spent with unsupportive friends and family.

Accept your grief in this holiday season, do not try to “pretend” it away. This will not be helpful to you or others. The seasons of grief only pass as we live through them and change and grow in them. To resist your grief is to prolong it. Growth can come only through your grief. Your life is different: learning how to cope with this difference constructively is the task for you as a griever both during and after the holidays.

Try not to put so much pressure on yourself to get everything done. If you do not feel like shopping or sending greeting cards or baking or cooking, then admit this to yourself and to family and friends. Find new ways of celebrating this year. You don’t have to live up to others’ or your own expectations. Ask for help in addressing those cards or putting up that tree if that’s what you want, or need. Allowing yourself these feelings and expressing them may be what you need, rather than the added stress and strain of accomplishing a whole list of items. Give yourself the time and space to feel and experience your loss while also sharing it with family and friends as much as possible.

Team Building: Looking ahead to 2013, is your company planning to reactivate it’s team building initiatives?

The Importance of Team Building

Team building few managers and business owners recognize it, but there is a season to productivity at work. Throughout the course of the year, the seasons, the holidays, and the weather all conspire to help distract employees from their work. In the summer, the warm weather and holidays in August often bring offices to a standstill. The Christmas holidays can be equally as slow, with many employees taking time off, or simply finding that they are distracted with Christmas holiday planning.

The good news is that many employees come back from Christmas holidays refreshed, ready to turn over a new leaf at work, and fulfil one or more New Year’s resolutions. And the fact that the cold, damp winter months in the UK don’t necessarily distract employees from office work makes it an opportune time to really fine-tune work processes and bring your teams together.

Team Building

In 2008, many companies put these initiatives on hold and some have not resumed them.

If your company is resuming these initiatives:

– what have are your objectives – have these changed?
– what are your priorities – have these shifted?
– what segment of the employee population are you targeting? executives, sales, managers, front-line staff?

If these initiatives are still off the corporate agenda, what are some of the reasons that they are not seen as a priority.

The main goals of team building are to improve productivity and motivation. Taking employees out of the office helps groups break down political and personal barriers, eliminate distractions, and have fun. The benefits of team-building programs are so significant that many corporations have incorporated team building strategies into their standard training curriculum.

Some of these benefits include:

  • Improves morale and leadership skills
  • Finds the barriers that thwart creativity
  • Clearly defines objectives and goals
  • Improves processes and procedures
  • Improves organisational productivity
  • Identifies a team’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Improves the ability to problem solve