Bereavement is a terrible experience for anybody, young or old. If your child is suffering then help is at hand.

If your child is currently experiencing the turmoil of grief then it’s a fairly safe guess that you are too. I’m sorry to hear it. It’s a  difficult enough process for a fully functioning adult. For children it can be harder still.
Adults at least have the advantage of fully understanding their loss. Children, below a certain age, can suffer the feeling of loss as well as the utter confusion as to why their loved one can’t be with them anymore.
Is death permanent? Will they come back? When? Adults who are going through their own loss don’t always have the ability to sit with and answer these questions as fully as the child may need.
Adults also have the advantage of a peer group who have been through similar experiences and who can therefore offer support and empathy. A child can feel terribly alone in perhaps being the only one of their peers to have suffered such a loss.
Bereavement may bring enormous changes in its wake. Homes may have to be sold. Favourite visits to a grandparent’s house may no longer happen. Finances can be tightened and favourite activities foregone. This, on top of the loss, means that the new way of being can feel totally alien. If loved ones disappear then nothing can be certain. Nothing can be trusted.
I have a good deal of experience in working with bereavement. I help clients to process their grief in Reading, Oxford, London, Thame and Wallingford. If you live in or close to these areas then give me a call. I’ll be glad to discuss how I can help.
I also offer counselling and psychotherapy for bereavement online, using vsee, whatsapp, zoom. Please get in touch for details.

Your children may be trying to protect you!

Children and teenagers will quickly realise that you are as upset as they are. They may be scared by this, consciously or otherwise. After all, parents are meant to be all-powerful, aren’t they?! They may try to nudge you back into strength by hiding their own feelings or mothering you into managing yours.

Their grief will often be expressed in different ways

Bereaved children can become clingy, as they attempt to protect and stay close to the people they have left in their lives. Sadness and tears may be swallowed down, with the result of their erupting to the surface in fits of rage, depression or anxiety.

Rarer reactions may include issues such as conversion disorder, where the repressed emotional response is converted into a physical symptom. One young man I worked with, for example, had lost a loved one and the grief had turned him functionally blind.

Anxiety, depression and anger may mean that schoolwork suffers as the grieving child experiences a form of existential angst. ‘What’s the point?’ It’s a valid enough question but children and young people are ill-equipped to come up with their own answer.

Parents, teachers and other involved parties will empathise but one by one they will begin to clamp down on the less socially desirable behaviours. Grief then turns to anger and conflict and this may become a self-perpetuating cycle.

Counselling and other forms of therapy could help your child to process their grief

Play therapy, arts, crafts, music, counselling, adapted forms of mindfulness and even hypnosis can be utilised to help your child process their grief. There is no magic cure, of course, but a neutral space in which a child or teenager can vent and feel understood can be an incredibly powerful means of coming to terms with the unbearable.

If your young person needs help in dealing with their grief then get in touch. I’ll be more than happy to talk with you of how I could help. I work in Reading, Oxford, London, Wallingford and Thame.