If you know a child or teen who has experienced the death of a mother, father, caregiver, sister, brother, or friend, you may have wondered how you can help. At The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families, we have worked with thousands of grieving children and teens since our program began in 1982. They’ve taught us a lot about what does and doesn’t help them.
We’ve gathered together some of the most important things we have learned from grieving families and kids, and have made it accessible to you through this Website. Our resources are simple and practical. You may want to use them to answer specific questions about how to help a grieving child, to locate support and resources for grieving children and families, or to learn how to communicate with the grieving community.
As adults, we’re often too quick to offer advice, give opinions and make judgments. We think we know what’s best for our children, and we want to make sure they get the right information. But while we’re busy talking, sometimes we miss important messages from children about what they need and how we can best help them. You may want to know what to say to a grieving child. Instead, try this:
After a death, many children want to share their story. They may want to tell you what happened, where they were when they were told about the death, and what it was like for them. Telling their story is a healing experience. One of the best ways adults can help young grievers is to listen to their stories.
Now you already have one thing you can do for a grieving child. Read on. Invite a child to read with you. Ask her what she thinks. Hopefully, this will be a safe place to learn and discover together about grieving.