Kids & Grief: 5 Ways to Help a Grieving Child Express Their Feelings by Cara Allen
Kids and teens have a tendency to want to protect the people that they love. To that end, they often hide their feelings from those who could help support them most. Concern over upsetting a parent or sibling who is also grieving can lead to this behavior and to teens hiding feelings that would be beneficial for them to express. Here are some things to keep in mind and some ways that may open the door to more feelings-based conversation.
- Acknowledge their tendency to protect you and directly give your teen permission to not do that.
- Figure out how your teen copes and help them to capitalize on their existing coping mechanisms. Help them connect the dots between the activities they enjoy and how those help them manage emotions.
- Don’t try and fix it. If teens feel heard and validated with little things, they are more likely to share about the larger things, and grief oftentimes falls into the larger things category.
- Say, “I hear you” instead of “I know how you feel.”
- Model what it looks like to talk about grief. If you are both grieving, share openly about your feelings and how you are working your way through.
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