The dictionary defines grief as “deep sorrow, especially caused by someone’s death,” but we all know that it is much more. No one died, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have good reasons for grieving. Some of the ways that you can lose someone are:
- Breaking up
- Moving far away
- Divorce of family members
- Fighting with friends and not being able to make up
- Losing your spirituality, important ideas, or dreams that really mattered to you
- Life-changing or life-threatening illness
- Developing a disability
How long does grief last?
The length of the grief process is different for everyone. There is no predictable schedule for grief. Although it can be quite painful at times, the grief process should not be rushed. It is important to be patient with yourself as you experience your unique reactions to the loss. With time and support, things generally do get better. However, it is normal for significant dates, holidays, or other reminders to trigger feelings related to the loss. Taking care of yourself, seeking support, and acknowledging your feelings during these times are ways that can help you cope.
Do Children Grieve Differently than Adult?
There are over 100 acknowledged grief symptoms, and most people (children and adults) experience their own unique symptoms of grief. However, the pattern of grief in adults tends to be more of a sustained emotional experience than is for kids. Children’s grief symptoms can include intense feelings, but they tend to “come and go,” with periods of intense grief symptoms followed by periods of apparent happiness and well-being, often all within the same day.
What are Children’s Grief Symptoms?
A child may manifest symptoms that seem similar too common “adult” symptoms of grief, like: crying, lethargy, sadness, bargaining, anxiety, anger, and even numbness or denial. Eating and sleeping changes are also common in grieving children. Often, however, grief will show up in other, more “subtle” ways. Learning and attention issues may arise, and their performance in school or activities may suffer. Behavioral issues like irritability, arguing, and fighting can be common for some. Others will withdraw, disengaging from friends, family, or activities they used to enjoy. Children are also likely to experience a roller-coaster of emotional “highs” and “lows,” and may not be sure how to handle what they feel.
Our organization aim is to support children and youth who have identified as having a loss, through our summer camps and school groups.