Helping your child deal with grief

There is no magic fix, but here are some things you can encourage your child to do that might help them get through this challenging time.

  • Participate in the funeral/memorial service.
  • Find a creative outlet—express yourself with dance, drama, music, art, or writing.
  • Get physical—play a sport, work out, join a team, ride a bike, or just play.
  • ƒShare your feelings—talk to a friend or family member who really gets it, write about it (journal, blog, poem, song, story), or join an online grief discussion group.
  • Display pictures or create a photo album or memory book.
  • ƒVisit the cemetery.
  • ƒContinue “normal” activities by getting back into the routines of school and home—hang out with friends, go to work, attend social events. These familiar routines will provide a normalcy and structure to your life, but understand this will not be the life you once knew, but rather a new normal.
  • Take a break—allow yourself to take a break from grief and do something you enjoy without feeling guilty. Grief is hard work, and sometimes, you just need to put it on a shelf in order to recharge. Life continues—tests need to be taken, teams need to win the game, chores need to get done—and it is okay to leave grief on the shelf temporarily while you continue everyday life.
  • ƒSeek counseling to better understand what is happening to you.

Do whatever it takes to work through your grief. Just don’t put it aside for too long. You can deal with it now or later, but you will have to deal with it. The sooner you work through it, the sooner you will be able to get back into your life. You will never forget the loved one that died, but you will learn that it is possible to enjoy life again.

Excerpted from “Teen Grief: Coping with the Loss of a Loved One,” Second Edition