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Helping people bring structure and calm to chaos

Deanne Carter, LMHC

Info@HeartHealing.org

253 . 651 . 3752

Helping people bring structure and calm to chaos

Deanne Carter, LMHC

Grief and Loss

© 2008 Deanne Carter, LMHC, NCC

The holiday season often brings many plans with hopes of renewing family memories and relationships. Frequently, children are both excited and saddened by these events.

The excitement, of course, comes from opportunities to visit with relatives and friends.

The sadness can come as thoughts drift to those who are not there. It is in this sadness that thoughts can linger and lead to distractions that intrude into the joys of everyday life.

Often, adults hesitate to talk with children for fear of bringing up difficult feelings. Below is information on children’s grief to help you understand and be supportive.

If you would like further assistance, feel free to contact me.

Sincerely,
Deanne Carter, LMHC, NCC

What is Loss?

The Obvious Losses



Death               Divorce               Moving





The Not So Obvious Losses

Changing schools 
Loss of goals    
Loss of respect  
Robbery   
Loss of communication 
Loss of health 
Loss of routine 

Changing teachers

Loss of trust

Loss of comfort

Death of a pet

Anticipatory grief

Loss of security

Loss of future plan
 

Loss of opportunity

Loss of hope

Loss of friendship

Loss of status -

i.e. new sibling

Family encomic changes

Loss of self-esteem

Mini Losses – Cumulative Everyday Losses

Cancelled game

Missed bus

Lost homework

Pimples

 

Loss of recess

Loss of Clothing

Lost lunch money

Poor grades

COMMON FEELINGS ASSOCIATED WITH GRIEF

Denial – “This can’t be happening.” “I don’t want to talk/think about it.” “What’s going to happen to me?” 
 

Children may become hyperactive, an over achiever, refuse to have fun, exhibit fear, blame others, become resentful, irritable, or have difficulty sleeping.

Anger – “Why me?” “I don’t ever want to see him again!” “I hate you!” “Leave me alone!”
 

Children may lash out at those who are involved in the situation or less powerful than them, blame others, become resentful, irritable, or have difficulty sleeping, and/or may think no one loves them.
 

Bargaining – “If I do the best I can then it won’t be true or might be reversible.”
 

Children may try to make a deal as a form of manipulating an unpleasant reality, do anything for attention, overeat or refuse to eat, become talkative or refuse to talk.
 

Sadness – “They don’t care about me.” “I’m dumb.” “Why try?”
 

This occurs as children realize they do not control or have a measurable impact on the loss. Children may engage is self-blame, feel worthless, regress into immature behaviors, become passive, withdrawn, and/or feel guilty.
 

Acceptance – “I don’t like it, but this is the way it is.” “What can I do to make the best of it?”
 

Children may feel a sense of relief, assume more responsibility for their feelings and behaviors and begin to trust again. No one forgets the lost person or relationship, nor the hurt, but no longer feels angry, sad, or preoccupied with the loss.

SUGGESTIONS FOR HOW LOVED ONES CAN HELP

1. Teach children to appreciate qualities about themselves in terms of who they are, not by what they have.
 

2. Encourage children to continue to love even when those they love die or leave them.
 

3. Recognize that children may hesitate to initiate new relationships, for fear that they cannot love the person they have lost and a new person, or for fear that they will leave too.
 

4. Teach your child that loss is a natural part of living.
 

5. Know that inappropriate behavior such as lying, stealing, and decreased academic performance are symptoms of underlying needs. Gentle, firm, consistent rules still apply.
 

6. There is no universal time for grief. Be an example for your child to take time to heal.
 

7. Too-soon substitutes for the lost person or object can impede the grief process.
 

8. Help your child develop new behaviors in dealing with loss before the next one occurs.
 

9. Recognize that experiencing loss is a significant step toward growth.
 

10. Help your child establish or re-establish beliefs and goals.
 

11. Encourage your child to share his/her feelings and thoughts. You don’t have to    have the answers!
 

12. Help your child understand that feelings of anger, frustration, guilt, and sadness are normal and they can still be responsible for their behavior.

 

 

 

13. Don’t allow feelings to be denied, covered up (to ‘be strong’) for this hinders the grief process.

14. Give your child as much information as you can about changes that will occur in his/her life, especially when there is divorce or re-marriage. This helps re-establish predictability.
 

15. Share with your child what you as a person are going through when you experience death, divorce, or re-marriage. Children will feel comforted and not alone in their grief.
 

16. Read books on divorce, death, and/or step-families, with your children. Talk about it.
 

17. Help your children identify all of the positive things that have resulted in their loss, especially in the case of divorce or re-marriage.
 

18. Teach your children that they don’t cause adult problems. A down-side to thinking the world revolves around them!
 

19. When children are faced with deep and painful feelings, physical touching (hugs, pats) can be very comforting.
 

20. Help your children realize that there is an end to each loss situation and that it will pass.

​​WHAT RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE FOR ME AND MY CHILD?
 

Compassionate Friends – surviving your child’s suicide 
www.compassionatefriends.org   877-969-0010

 

The Dougy Center - The National Center for Grieving Children and Families
www.dougy.org    866-775-5683

 

Divorce Lifeline – Free Orientation/Information 
www.divorcelifeline.org   800-509-0515

 

Families and Friends of Violent Crime Victims  
www.fnfvcv.org    800-346-7555

Come in for a consult appointment and we’ll
create a plan to reduce conflict in your family.

 

Ccall 253.651.3752

or email me and let's get started

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