Kids Grieve Differently From Adults
Children tend to grieve in spurts, acting fine in one moment and grieving intensely in the next. According to social worker Susan Thomas, “adults have one foot in grief and one foot on the outside, but kids jump in and out of grief,” quoted in “How Children Grieve.”
When a child has jumped into grief for a moment, allow them to express themselves fully, even though their sudden burst of feeling may seem to have come from nowhere.
It may take a long time for a child to begin expressing grief, long after the adults in their lives have gotten past the worst of it. They also grieve differently as they go through the phases of development, missing their loved ones’ participation in their life events, or otherwise experiencing the ramifications of their loss.
Children crave the normalcy and structure that make the world feel right for them.
Because of this, even everyday disappointments can feel like true grief to a child. Maybe their soccer game was cancelled, or they missed the field trip because of the stomach flu. Kids highly value that which is known or expected.
They also live in the moment and have a hard time feeling that the future is real. So they sometimes grieve things or situations that seem like no big deal to us.
This day-to-day grief can be a perfect time to comfort them with Scripture (even though it might seem like overkill!) so that they learn how to lean on God when they’re sad.
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