Dr. Heidi Horsley interviews Linda Goldman, a fellow in thanatology and the author of several books focusing on grief. Specializing in grieving children, Goldman has received an award from the Association from Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) for her incredible research and passion in the field. What are the most common signs of grieving children? Children can grieve a little differently than adults, but all kids need to know what’s common. Adults need to know this, too! Addressing anxiety is critical.

Children will tell their story over and over again. They have an ongoing relationship with the person they love. Children are more likely to pick up on signs, such as a breeze or butterfly. Sometimes grieving kids have physical symptoms. They can regress, get clingy, and worry excessively. Stomach aches and headaches are normal. Failing in school can happen, or behavioral issues can pop up. Any changes can be a sign of grief.

Signs of Grief

Children can become the class clown, class bully, or suddenly act shy. The ages between two and seven are more likely to tap into magical thinking. This is the special age where children can toe the line between the real world and fantasy. They may think death is reversible—it can be confusing that, when they write a letter to a grandfather who just died, no letter will come back.

Kids in this age range are also quick to blame themselves. They can come up with all kinds of reasons why they may be to blame. Releasing them of magical thinking can help, but it must be done carefully. Having a child work with a professional is a great help, since the child hasn’t already formed ideas and personal bonds with these adults.


Linda Goldman

Linda Goldman has a Fellow in Thanatology: Death, Dying, and Bereavement (FT) with a Master of Science in counseling and Master's equivalency in early childhood education. Linda is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and a National Certified Counselor. She worked as a teacher and counselor in the school system for almost 20 years. Currently, she has a private grief therapy practice in Chevy Chase, Maryland. She works with children, teenagers, families with prenatal loss and grieving adults. Linda shares workshops, courses and trainings on children's grief and trauma and teaches as adjunct faculty in the Graduate Program of Counseling at Johns Hopkins University and King’s University College in Ontario, Canada. She has also taught on the faculty at the University of Maryland School of Social Work/Advanced Certification Program for Children and Adolescents and lectured at many other universities including Pennsylvania State University, Buffalo School of Social Work, University of North Carolina, the National Transportation Safety Board, the University of Hong Kong, and the National Changhua University of Education in Taiwan as well as numerous schools systems throughout the country. She has taught on working with LGBT youth and working with children's grief and trauma at Johns Hopkins Graduate School, the University of Maryland School of Social Work and the Child Welfare Administration. Linda is the author of “Life and Loss: A Guide to Help Grieving Children” and “Breaking the Silence: a Guide to Help Children with Complicated Grief”. Her other books include “Bart Speaks Out: An Interactive Storybook for Young Children On Suicide”, “Helping the Grieving Child in the School”, and a Chinese Edition of “Breaking the Silence: A Guide to Help Children With Complicated Grief”, the Japanese Edition of “Life and Loss: A Guide to Help Grieving Children”, and "Raising Our Children to Be Resilient: A Guide for Helping Children Cope with Trauma in Today’s World" and a children’s book “Children Also Grieve”, Chinese translation of “Children Also Grieve” and “Coming Out, Coming In: Nurturing the Well Being and Inclusion of Gay Youth in Mainstream Society”. She has also authored contributing chapters in resources including Loss of the Assumptive World (2002), Annual Death, Dying, and Bereavement (2001-2007), Family Counseling and Therapy Techniques (1998), and The School Services Sourcebook: A Guide for School-Based Professionals (2006). She has written many articles, including Healing Magazine’s “Helping the Grieving Child in the Schools” (2012), “The Bullying Epidemic, Creating Safe Havens for Gay Youth in Schools” (2006), “Parenting Gay Youth” (2008), “Talking to Kids About Suicide” (2014), “Helping Kids Cope with Grief of Losing a Pet” (2014) and “What Complicates Grief for Children: A Case Study” (2015). Some of her articles on Children's Grief and trauma have been translated into Chinese for the Suicide Prevention Program of Beijing. She appeared on the radio show Helping Gay Youth: Parents Perspective (2008) and has testified at a hearing before the MD Joint House and Senate Priorities Hearing for Marriage Equality (2007) and the MD Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee for the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act (2008).

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