In this guest blog I am sharing the wisdom of Grief Recovery Specialist, Russell Friedman, from The Grief Recovery Institute. I hope you find this blog helpful.
When working with grieving children there are many things you can do to help. Here is a simple list to refer to when you identify that your child is grieving.
- Go First. As the adult, you are the leader.
- Tell the truth about how you feel. It will establish a tone of trust and safety. Recognize that grief is emotional, not intellectual, and that sad or scared feelings are normal reactions to all loss events.
- Remember that each child is unique and has a unique relationship to what they hear and believe about loss.
- Be Patient. Give your child time to formulate opinions. Make sure to plant healthy ideas about talking about feelings.
- Listen with your heart, not your head. Allow all emotions to be expressed, without judgment or criticism.
- Don’t Say “Don’t Feel Scared.” Fear is the most common response to loss, for children and adults.
- Don’t Say “Don’t Feel Sad.” Sadness is a healthy and normal reaction to loss.
- Don’t ask your children how they are feeling. Like adults, fearful of being judged, they will automatically say, “I’m Fine, ” even though they are not.
- Don’t act strong for your children. They will interpret your “non-feeling” as something they are supposed to copy.
- Don’t compare their lives or situations to others in the world. Comparison always minimizes feelings.
- Don’t make promises that you cannot keep. Instead of saying “Everything’s going to be okay,” say, “We’ll do everything we can to be safe.”
- Don’t forget that your children are very smart. Treat them and their feelings with respect and dignity as you would like to be treated by others.
Canadian Advanced Grief Recovery Method Specialist, Tammy Adams, loves to problem solve, inspire and motivate others who are ready and committed to change. Tammy has spent over 30 years in the field of education and as a Certified Life and Executive Coach Tammy teaches individuals to challenge and conquer their limiting beliefs and insecurities to create the life of their choosing. As a Grief Recovery Method Specialist Tammy understands that unresolved grief can limit an individual’s capacity for happiness and is gifted at supporting individuals through the pain and isolation cause by an emotional loss, of any kind, to a place of happiness they believed no longer existed. A Tammy client testimonial, “Tammy helped me unpack the baggage and put a smile on my face in the process. It’s a rare quality for someone to fully listen without judgement but yet still steer you in the right direction.”