When a loved one is lost, everyone who loved them can be affected by grief. Both adults and children will grieve for the person they’ve lost. For children, their grief may look a little different.
Children grieve losses just as intensely as adults do. They experience many of the same emotions and struggle to move through the same healing process. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance—the primary stages of grief—are seen in the grieving process of children as well as adults. What is different and often misunderstood is the way in which children grieve.
Do I Need Therapy for Grief and Loss?
Going through a tough loss is never easy and it can seriously impact your mental health. We’re conflicted over our emotions, our day to day, our last moments with the loved one lost, and so on. And many times, we need a little extra help dealing with the loss and moving through the grief process in a healthy manner. So, if you are suffering from a recent loss and aren’t sure if you need (or could benefit from) therapy for grief, assess the following signs:
- Feelings of depression
- Lack of joy in one’s everyday
- A weak (or inexistent) support system
- Avoidance of friends or family
- Disregarding responsibilities, like work or school
- Sudden changes in behavior, like sleep or eating habits
- Inability to move on after several months
If you are experiencing any of the above, you might need a little extra support or guidance in processing this loss and moving forward with your life. And that’s okay. There is no shame found in needing help. Our counselors are free of judgment and they want to help you live a happy, healthy life again.
Normal Grieving in Children
Depending on the child’s age, grief may be expressed more through words or more through actions. Little ones especially do not yet have the cognitive skills to clearly express their feelings, and it can be frustrating. They will attempt to express or alleviate painful feelings through their actions. Some of the ways that children deal with grief are:
- Eating more or less
- Dreaming about the deceased person or reports of “seeing” or “feeling” them
- Wanting to talk about the loss or refusing to talk about it at all
- Expressing fears, concerns about safety or of others getting sick or dying
- Asking questions about death and dying
- Crying more or expressing sadness or moodiness in another way
- Acting out driven by anger, irritability, or aggression
- Being extra clingy with adults
- Overreacting to seemingly little things
- Expressing a desire to be with their lost loved on (not necessarily an indicator of suicidal thoughts but something to be mindful of)
The list can be long. The main thing to look for are changes that are different for your child. With loving family support, most kids move through their grief and healing. Sometimes, just like adults, they can get stuck in the process. Columbia, MD grief counseling can help.
When to Seek Grief Help for Your Child
While all of the signs listed above can be normal grief reactions for children, they can also be indicative of a child who is struggling. A good rule of thumb for parents is that if any of the normal grieving behaviors start to affect the child’s functioning or continue for an excessively long time, it might be time to seek help. Some of the signs that may indicate a need for professional help include:
- Threats to harm self or others
- Behavior that is dangerous or risky
- Self-injurious behaviors
- Aggressive or violent play with peers
- Dramatic withdrawal from people or activities
- Worrisome changes in personality
- Difficulty functioning at home, in school or in the community
Schedule an Appointment for Grief Counseling at Thriveworks Columbia, MD in Howard County
Are you looking for Howard counseling for grief and loss? If you need guidance during this difficult time or you are concerned that your child may not be coping well with their loss, Columbia, MD grief counseling can help. Our experienced counselors can provide the guidance and support you and your child need to heal the pain and find comfort and peace. Call Columbia, MD grief counseling to schedule your appointment right now.