One out of 20 children will experience the death of a parent before they graduate from high school, while one out of every seven children will face the death of someone close to them.
Who takes care of the children when adults grieve? Sometimes, no one. It is easy to think that children are resilient, and maybe don’t feel the deep loss because they aren’t showing any signs, or have seem to be doing fine. It may be that you don’t have the energy to focus on more than getting through the day yourself. Perhaps they say they are OK because your children don’t want to burden you.
In the same way your grief can linger, wax and wane, go underground, or be avoided, so it is with children of all ages. However, Children’s grief can differ because of their age and life experiences. They often have fewer tools to understand or know how to share what they experience. They see you as a role model, especially if this is the first death. How are you supposed to help your children if you are grieving, too?
Reach out for support. If you stop to think about it, finding support for your children is big support for you. Grieving children need support. And the first step in that support is for everyone to become more aware of what kids are going through.
Observed every year on the third Thursday of November, Children’s Grief Awareness Day strives to remind grieving children they are not alone. This time of year is a particularly appropriate as the holiday season is especially difficult after a death. Children’s Grief Awareness Day seeks to bring attention to the importance of being sensitive to the needs of grieving children and their families and that caring support can make all the difference in their lives.
Grief Awareness Day, November 12, 2012
With a message of Hope (the butterfly) Highmark Caring Place in Pennsylvania began Children’s Grief Awareness Day in 2008. Spread throughout schools and businesses, today the campaign reaches across the nation creating a sea of blue by wearing the color for children’s grief awareness.
Parents, family members, schools, businesses and healthcare organizations are all encouraged to participate:
- Wear blue on the third Thursday, November 15, 2012
- Like and Share on Facebook
- Visit the Children’s Grief Awareness Day website.
- Here’s a great Toolkit for you to participate and learn more.
National Alliance for Grieving Children
The National Alliance for Grieving Children is an organization that provides a network for nationwide communication between hundreds of children’s bereavement support professionals and volunteers. Start here for articles and resources on children’s grief.
- Visit the National Alliance for Grieving Children website.
- Comprehensive map of programs for children in the US.
- About Childhood Grief
- 10 Things Grieving Children Want You to Know
- 10 Ways to help Grieving Children
Even if the loss in your family occurred years ago, children may need to revisit their loss as they grow. Questions today may not be the same ones at the time of the death. Start today. Discover the impact of grief on children and participate in Children’s Grief Awareness Day.