Stories by Professionals

How to identify grieving signs in children.

by Ms. Lagorio-Anthony,
author of "Life Cycles: Activities to Help Children Cope."

During a time of grief children are more likely to act out or withdraw in response to loss, because they do not have the vocabulary to verbalize their feelings. The child may appear non-effected by the loss, going out with friends shortly after hearing the news engaging in play and laughter. The child may appear bland or brazen.

It is a common mistake to be fooled by these appearances. Grief is likely to manifest in reactions such as, preoccupation of thoughts, worried thoughts about what will happen to surviving members, loss or increase in appetite, disrupted sleep patterns, truancy, over achieving, somatic complaints often similar to those which the deceased experienced and being overwhelmed to the point of tears over minor problems.

Assistance is needed from adults to help children develop an internal vocabulary for their experience. Adults can do this by identifying and labeling feelings for children. The most effective adult is one who role models clear communication and acceptance of emotional expression.

If you would like to learn more about childhood grief, how age effects a child's comprehension of death and easy to apply activities which can assist children through the grieving process, call any bookstore, or
1-800-843-0165 to order "Life Cycles: Activities to help children cope with daily change and loss." by Jeanne Lagorio-Anthony.

A variety of activities will assist you in empowering children to cope with loss. Recommended readings with discussion questions is also included. All recommended readings have been preread to assure a well rounded representation of the grieving process.

Helping a child cope with feelings as they occur can help them transform pain and suffering into inner strength and deeper compassion. You may find as you work with children you too are healed in special way.

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