Q&A Thursday: How Do I Help My Child Who Is Grieving?

When I walked into the room, all three of them were sitting on one couch. Their expressions were varied. Two immediately spoke and introduced themselves. One was quiet. But all three were in the middle of a tremendous loss in their lives - their parents were getting divorced. These sisters were 12, 14 and 16, and were all handling their grief very differently.

As I started counseling them over the next few months, I realized just how different each of their griefs was, and how it was a powerful picture of where each sister was developmentally. The youngest, at 12, was devastated. She was quiet in her grief and didn't know quite yet how to put words to her feelings. She was afraid that her sadness would "make her mom more sad," so she bottled it up, with it growing inside of her in ways that made it hard to concentrate and enjoy the things she loved most.

The oldest sister who was now in high school was very angry with her father. She kept trying to understand why he made the choices he had and was worried and protective of her mom. She had tears in her eyes during our conversation, much like her younger sister, but her grief had enlarged in her awareness of the family around her. READ MORE

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