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Children and Grief

Posted in: Grief Perspective

Grief, regardless of age, is unique to the individual. When a child grieves, their developmental age influences their grief journey and reaction.

John was eight months old when his father died. Now 9, he only knew his father through stories and pictures that his mother shared with him. His mother called to refer her son for grief counseling through hospice after she observed several changes in John’s behavior.

She first noticed that John took down a picture of his father that had been displayed on his dresser for many years and that he started to ask more questions about his father and would cry frequently. At first, John’s mother felt distraught and confused, but she soon learned that her son was now grieving the death of his father that he never known.

Children grieve differently depending on their developmental age and, like John, will go through their grief journey when they have more cognitive awareness of a significant loss and what death means to them.

Through hospice, John found a safe place where he could share his feelings of sadness, confusion, and anger. 

Children accept and process death at different levels as they mature. It is common for adults to think a child has “finished” grieving the death of a loved one because they seemed to deal with their feelings after the death occurred.

In reality, as a child grows both physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, they will grieve multiple times in different ways.

Do you know a child grieving the loss of a loved one (parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt, friend, etc.)? Help us spread the word about our FREE Children's Grief Camp Jamie , May 20 and 21.  Families do not have to have had a loved one on hospice to participate. Sign up by April 12 or call 240-566-3073  for more info.

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