Children may not show it, but still need time to grieve

Article by:  Catherine Johnston And Rebecca Nappi 

“Children grieve through short spurts and then may return to a normal activity,” said Deborah Hutton, a supervisor for chaplains with Providence Health & Services in Olympia.

When children resume their normal behavior patterns and activities, adults may mistakenly believe that the children are just fine, dismissing children’s need for grief support. This dismissal can leave them feeling sad, confused and acting out their feelings.

If your community does not offer a grief support group for children, consult Children’s Grief Education Association,, where you will find information on children’s grief responses, how to help and what to say, a support group locator and survivors of suicide information.

Your grandchildren may tell you how they feel or what they believe about the loss as they play with blocks, enjoy the outdoors or draw pictures. So pay attention.

“A child I worked with drew a picture of herself with a cord around her wrist. The other end of the cord reached up into the sky – heaven – where it wrapped around her mother,” Hutton said.


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