At the National Alliance for Grieving Children conference, Dr. Gloria Horsley discusses grieving children with Andy McNiel. McNiel is with the National Alliance, and explains that this organization was founded in 2004 by professionals in the bereavement field who wanted to connect around issues related to childhood bereavement. There was a belief that there was a misunderstanding about kids and their support network. They’ve been gathering for 11 years, offering symposiums to help those in the industry as well as adult caregivers.
The Alliance also offers online support and helps people connect with in-person organizations in their community. If you’re looking for support and help, the Alliance can help you pinpoint local resources. There are many downloadable resources on the website to help you talk to children about death, tackle the topic of kids and funerals, and help you engage your child. Links to programs that support schools and the workplace are also available. There are many resources at the ready.
Helping Children Heal
There are also camps and other outings designed for bereaved children. These bereavement camps offer peer to peer support. Children fare better when they’re engaged, feel warmth from their caregiver, and when they’re allowed space to be able to express grief. To express that grief in a safe setting with adults who care is key. These adults can also help them set clear boundaries in their life. It’s a critical aspect of the healing process.
If you’re raising a bereaved child, know that the death of someone in the child’s life doesn’t mean the end of that child’s life. Kids can still grow into healthy adults. There are still life celebrations, birthday cakes, and many things to look forward to. As an adult, you have the unique opportunity to provide them with love and support.