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When Children Grieve: For Adults to Help Children Deal with Death, Divorce, Pet Loss, Moving, and Other Losses (Paperback)

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Walmart # 558406496
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The first--and definitive--guide to helping children really deal with loss from the authors of the The Grief Recovery Handbook

Following deaths, divorces, or the confusion of major relocation, many adults tell their children "don't feel bad." In fact, say the authors of the highly praised The Grief Recovery Handbook, feeling bad or sad is precisely the appropriate emotion attached to sad events. Encouraging a child to bypass grief without completion can cause unseen long-term damage.

When Children Grieve helps parents break through the misinformation that surrounds the topic of grief. It pinpoints the six major myths that hamper children in adapting to life's inevitable losses. Practical and compassionate, it guides parents in creating emotional safety and spells out specific actions to help children move forward successfully.


Series Title
Starbuck Chronicles
Book Format
Original Languages
Number of Pages
John W James; Russell Friedman; Matthews
Publication Date
June, 2002
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
9.00 x 6.00 x 1.50 Inches

Customer Reviews

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Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

When I was six, my bab...

When I was six, my baby sister died and I have never really dealt with this. Her death was never talked about and it was only years later, as an adult, that I talked to someone about this - the someone was a counsellor who I was seeing as my Mum was terminally ill and I had no understanding of how to deal with my emotions relating to loss. The counselling sessions did help me but I am still badly affected by these, and other, losses that I haven't dealt with properly. When I became a Dad, it was essential to me that I would support my son with any grief he will experience in his life. (At this stage, I was angry with my parents for not helping their six-year-old son (me) at a time of such major grief and I wanted to do a better job with my son - as a little boy, I blamed myself for my sister's death and I never had one of my parents explain that it wasn't my fault. I felt that I should have protected her, although I now understand that I couldn't have protected her from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). I carried out some research and found When Children Grieve. Reading this book has had such an impact on me that I'm sure I will be able to support my son in the future but it has also helped me understand a lot of personal issues that have troubled me since that first loss. The book flows at a steady pace that is easy to follow, with clear examples of different experiences of loss and ways of supporting people through the loss (including a number of myths that don't help). Shortly after my sister died, my family moved house, I lost contact with all of my friends and 'replaced' them with new friends in a different place - this happened several times and I eventually stopped making any effort to make new friends. I was aware of my parents drifting apart but this was never talked about. Any time a loved one died, I simply didn't talk about the loss and I tried to be strong, as I believed was expected by this stage. When I started reading the myths in When Children Grieve, I became aware of just how many of them I had fallen victim to! Myth 1: Don't feel bad - it is natural to feel bad about loss! It's also natural to express it and I will help my son with this when the time comes. Myth 2: Replace the loss - I now realise this is what I was doing when making friends in new places. There was a section of this chapter that really sounded like my experience of this! Myth 3: Grieve alone - personally, I tried not to grieve at all because I thought this was the way loss was meant to be dealt with, which leads on to... Myth 4: Be strong - my parents were trying to be strong when my sister died, they just didn't realise that I was also trying to be strong for them, which no six-year-old child should really be doing. The anger I mentioned before, isn't there now, I understand that my parents were trying to do what they thought was best - based on mistaken information they had been given in the past about grief, no doubt. Myth 5: Keep busy - this has never really applied to me (although I did read a lot of fantasy and science fiction books, which may have been a form of distraction - I was praised for my reading as a child). My parents moved house and ran businesses several times and, with hindsight, I think they were trying to keep busy to not dwell on the loss of their baby and also on the loss of their relationship. Myth 6: Time heals all wounds - after decades of grief, this section helped me see that time does not heal all wounds, action is required and I will help my son with this. The book goes on to provide so much helpful information that I can't list it all here! There is lots of detail (backed up with examples) about how to move from grief to recovery. The book has really left me feeling that I can support my son (and other loved ones) understand grief; move from grief to recovery and; help them with 'completing' unfinished or undelivered emotions/conversations (the book goes into great detail on this topic, with good reason). There are plenty of examples to help you understand what this process looks like when it is done well. On a personal level, this book has helped me realise a number of unresolved issues that are still there and I have ordered a copy of The Grief Recovery Handbook, to help me work through this. In conclusion, I would definitely recommend this book to any parent or guardian who is caring for a child who has recently experienced loss (this could be the death of a person or a pet, the loss of a prized possession, moving house, personal injury or illness, the end of a relationship, changing school or the end of school etc.). I would go further and suggest that all parents and guardians are likely to benefit from reading this - your child will almost certainly experience the trauma of loss at some point and I think it's better to have prepared yourself by reading this book before that happens - if nothing else, you can understand the harmful myths ("don't feel bad", "be strong" etc.) that you might instinctively rely on in times of grief.

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