A Grief Support Blog

This blog will allow you the opportunity to acquire both support and guidance after experiencing a significant loss.

Bereaved Children: 5 ways our book can help

Much of what we know about loss was taught to us by our parents. Those ideas we learned became part of our belief system. Unfortunately, our parents weren't working with the most accurate information on this misunderstood topic. You can read about the grief myths here. As a parent, there are ways to make sure that you pass along healthy, useful information to your children about grief. Whether their first loss is something tangible, like the loss of a pet, or something a little less tangible, like the loss of trust in a sibling or parent (very common as a first loss), there are ways to make sure your child doesn't feel isolated in their grief. Read on for some quick and easy tips about children and grief.

Helping Bereaved Children


#1 -Learn to know what to look for in your child

As the parent, you will learn how to identify a loss issue in your child. When Children Grieve will shed light on many types of losses, not only death. A few examples of other losses children might experience are moving, divorce of parents, or loss of trust in a friend or family member. Very often these losses go unnoticed as grieving experiences. The emotional energy trapped inside the child can lead to problems in school as well as in other areas. You should be able to identify possible grieving experiences that your child has had and then help them say goodbye to what was unfinished in their relationship with the person or event that they're grieving over.

#2 - The illusion of protection

Sadly, loss will touch the lives of all of our children. As parents, we try and protect our children at all costs. In trying to shield them with little or no information about the loss, we often confuse our children, and unknowingly teach them to distrust their intuition. Children are very intuitive and when your verbal and non-verbal language do not match up, they already know that you are omitting or editing the truth. This lack of information can actually feed the child's imagination and make matters worse. We'll go into details on this very important topic and give you some guidance on age-appropriate information depending on the circumstances of the loss.

#3 - Myths about Grief

While growing up, society passes on some very unhelpful tools to deal with grief. Ultimately, these tools end up supporting the idea of stuffing down every loss you've ever had. We go into the subtle ways that we unconsciously pass these myths along to the next generation. Make sure you do not perpetuate these myths to your child!

#4 - Get practical tools to help your child

This book is not just theory based or something to read and simply put back on the shelf. There will be exercises and actions that you and your child can take to help heal your hearts. These Grief Recovery actions have helped thousands of people for over thirty years and you will have access to all of them in When Children Grieve.

#5 - This book will help you too

Children watch us and follow the leader. One of the best things you can do for your child is make sure you are emotionally complete with any past losses in your life. They will ultimately learn almost everything they know about grief from watching you. If you cry and immediately run to your room and close the door, they will learn to grieve alone as well. If you "stay strong" for your children, they will learn to stuff feelings down and show no sad emotions.  To help them effectively you must be the leader.

“There isn’t anyone in life who hasn’t experienced some kind of loss. It’s comforting to know that we are not alone in our sadness and that practical, easy-to-read, thoughtful help is available by way of Russell Friedman, John James, and Leslie Landon Matthews’s gentle insights on the pages of When Children Grieve. Thank you, Neighbors, for your obvious care.” ~ Mr. Fred Rodgers

If you found this article usefuly, you may also want to read 3 Important Things to Know Concerning Children and Grief

Click here order When Children Grieve now

Image credit: evdoha / 123RF Stock Photo


When I was 5 and my friend the ministers daughter died no one told me in fact it was hidden from me and I kept looking for her at sunday school till one day I went to church on my own and saved a seat for her. A kind neighbor took me aside and let me know. My mom said she was sorry and to never mention it again. Now that my husband died after a 3 mos. pancreatic cancer diagnosis I just kept moving forward though stopping for rest. Being able to tell people he was dying let me know we had support all around us and I was able to go home one day and say, "John I just want to tell you that Emma and I will be ok cause we have so many good people around us." I feel that was a gift for him. I am fortunate for my business to have this insight as it can help me with people who have lost their spouses.

Cindy, thank you for sharing your story with us. I can't imagine what those losses were like for you. Please let us know if we can help in any way. I'm not sure if you navigated our website, but we have specialists trained all over the world that can help with grief recovery if that is something that your are interested in.

My father committed suicide 2 years ago in May and last year in May my brother drowned in the sea on holiday in Turkey. Unbelievably the funerals took place on the same day a year apart. I've been managing alright mostly due to the exceptional support network I have in our local community but a few weeks ago my husband announced that he has been relocated to Switzerland, we are moving next week. Suddenly I find myself grieving all over again and I'm finding it impossible to pack and arrange anything. I feel very weak and often my leg muscles are trembling and don't seem to hold me up properly. We're going somewhere very beautiful, I will have time to rest when I'm there as I won't need to work for a while and it is a very great opportunity for my husband and children so really I have nothing to be upset about but I will really miss the love of my friends especially as it will take me a while to build new relationships as I don't speak French yet. I can't understand why I am being this useless!

Dear Earline,

Let’s start by suggesting that having normal and natural emotional reactions to a massive change in your life—not to mention that this sudden change is happening on the heels of the tragic deaths of your father and brother—does NOT make you useless. But it is fair to say that your emotional plate is full!

Next, let us tell you that “unresolved grief is cumulative and cumulatively negative,” and though you may have had wonderful support over the past two years, support of itself does not always equal recovery. [We are not suggesting that you are emotionally incomplete with either your father or brother, but there is a real probability that you do have some unfinished emotional business with both of them.]

And to top it off, the very support that has helped you will now be less regularly available to you because of the move you’re about to make.

The fact that your new locale is beautiful is a wonderful, but as you already realize, that doesn nothing to complete your grief.

Please go to the library or bookstore and get a copy of “The Grief Recovery Handbook.” Read it and take the actions it outlines. It will help you in many ways, not the least of which, will be to help you feel more complete with the support network you are leaving and allow you to build a new network when you move.

From our hearts to yours,

Russell and John


Please don't let your new situation worry you. It is a perfectly natural reaction to this change. (In many ways it can be viewed as another loss you need to grieve.) You so rightly stated that you will miss the love of your friends, and so you are in the process of grieving that loss as well as the others. You have probably not even had time to properly acknowledge the depth of grief stemming from the loss of your father, and so quickly followed by the loss of your brother. Please don't rush yourself, take everything one step at a time and "Allow" yourself the time to grieve. Let others know that you could use a little extra support at this time, and you will not only be helped, but they will have the opportunity to feel like they are able to help you too, since they are probably at a loss at how they can be of assistance to you. You will never be able to replace one loss with something else, grief is very strong, but if you didn't love so hard, you wouldn't hurt so much. My suggestion would be to take baby steps, one step at a time. Your current friends can be available by mail, phone, facebook and other facetime outlets, you are not losing them, but perhaps gaining them in a new way. Remember, as long as you are doing one thing a day, it may not seem like much, but pretty soon you will be able to do two, then three, and finally accept that you have a new different life now, but one that is still full of love, and learning.

I cannot say I know how you feel, but please accept that I am coming from a slightly familiar place. I too, lost someone from suicide, (a child) and shortly thereafter my bet friend since age of 2 died unexpectedly at the age of 58. I too could not do anything, but learned I was expecting too much, too soon. Love yourself. I am sending you my prayers and best wishes in your new home. Really, grieving isn't limited by boundries, I hope that you will be able to find someone from your new home to help walk with you through this time.

A friend, and angel's mother.

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