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Resources for Grief in Children

The ability of children to process grief can be influenced by their age, as children at different stages of development may have varying levels of understanding and coping mechanisms to deal with loss.


According to the developmental psychologist Erik Erikson, children's understanding of death and their ability to process grief evolve over time as they pass through different stages of psychosocial development. In the early stages, children may view death as a temporary and reversible state, while older children and adolescents may have a better understanding of the finality of death (Erikson, 1959).


Research has shown that younger children may have a more limited capacity to understand death and express their grief compared to older children. Young children may struggle to verbalize their feelings or may not fully comprehend the concept of death (Klass, 2014). In contrast, older children and adolescents may have a better understanding of death and may be better able to express their emotions and seek social support from peers and adults (Sutton et al., 2016).


However, it is important to note that every child is unique, and there may be individual differences in the way they process grief, regardless of their age. Additionally, the nature of the loss, the child's relationship with the deceased, and the support they receive from caregivers and their social network can all impact a child's ability to cope with grief.


Losing a loved one can be a challenging experience for anyone, especially for children who may have difficulty understanding and processing their emotions. Here are some resources that can help children struggling with grief:


  • The Dougy Center: The Dougy Center is a nonprofit organization that provides support groups and resources for children, teens, and young adults who are grieving a death. They offer a range of resources, including books, videos, and activity guides, that are designed to help children and families cope with their grief.

  • Sesame Street: Sesame Street has created several resources to help young children understand and cope with the loss of a loved one. Their "When Families Grieve" initiative includes videos, storybooks, and activities that can help children learn about grief and develop coping strategies.

  • National Alliance for Grieving Children: The National Alliance for Grieving Children is a network of organizations that provide support and resources for children who are grieving. Their website includes a directory of grief support programs and resources for children and families, as well as information on how to find local support.

  • Kidsaid: Kidsaid is a UK-based charity that provides online support and resources for bereaved children and their families. Their website includes a range of resources, including stories, poems, and activities that can help children express their emotions and cope with their grief.

  • GriefNet: GriefNet is an online support community for people who are grieving. They offer a range of support groups, including groups for children and teens, as well as a library of resources on grief and coping.

It's important to remember that everyone experiences grief differently, and what works for one child may not work for another. It's essential to offer children and families a variety of resources and support options to find what works best for them.


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