When your child experiences the loss of a loved one, life for him will never the same again. In my last blog post, I shared the stages of grief, and how your child sees and experiences life after such great loss.

Now, you, the parent, must be honest with your grieving child, being mindful to give information in an age-appropriate manner. Answer his questions and model authenticity for him. Include your child in every stage of decision-making that has to do with his own personal grieving, so that he has options and choices, which reasserts his sense of integrity.

How do we help children grieve? You must make sure that:

  • Your grieving child gets plenty of rest.
  • He should eat a balanced diet.
  • He gets plenty of water to drink.
  • His daily routine includes some exercise, but remember that fatigue is often a characteristic of both loss and depression.
  • He meets with other children in therapeutic groups such as those offered by the Compassionate Friends. Here your grieving child can stay connected to children who have experienced a similar personal story. It is through relating to other children in cohesive groups that allows the grieving child to begin to model successful survival skills.

Your child may need psychoanalytic therapy and medication, so both a psychiatrist and pediatrician should be incorporated into a healing time to support him and help him stay healthy, while under extreme stress.

Meeting at the edge of this crossroad of life at such a tender age is a wounding that often makes injured children very empathic. Allow your child to attend funerals if he wants to, so that there is a sense of reality and closure to this unthinkable event.

Depending upon your child’s age, there are positive outlets that can help him express his feelings when speaking is too difficult. He should be allowed to participate in the rituals that say goodbye. Encourage your grieving child to express and vent shock, anger, fear, and pain. Caretakers and professionals, as well as teachers and clergy, can all join together to help your child stay connected to life. A grief team of adults can re-establish his trust and support in an unsafe world.

In today’s world, your child has many opportunities to distract himself from grief and delay healing. Whether it is video games, YouTube, television, or movies, the outcome is the same: a disassociation from feelings. Therefore, it is important to facilitate opportunities for your child to integrate his feelings of loss, so that he can once again emerge as individuated.

Sound therapies that connect him back to his observational ego, so that he can reflect upon and express his true feelings and sense of who he is, can be helped through role playing, dance therapy, art, singing, and psychotherapy. This helps your child release the psychological blocks that have thrown him back to an earlier, more primitive stage of development.

These strategies bring to consciousness the trauma and help the child sort out his feelings. It is only through this reconnection of the child to his center that allows for healing.

The emotional energy of grief can transcend and by transcending, be transformed into life. Joy and vitality can once again be expressed creatively when the energy that is used to repress trauma and injury is released.

Children who grieve can live again, and by grieving, move through the paralysis of despair and the empty void of helplessness, through to the journey towards wholeness.


  • Dr. Gail Gross

    Author and Parenting, Relationships, and Human Behavior Expert

    Dr. Gail Gross, Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and member of APA Division 39, is a nationally recognized family, child development, and human behavior expert, author, and educator. Her positive and integrative approach to difficult issues helps families navigate today’s complex problems. Dr. Gross is frequently called upon by national and regional media to offer her insight on topics involving family relationships, education, behavior, and development issues. A dependable authority, Dr. Gross has contributed to broadcast, print and online media including CNN, the Today Show, CNBC's The Doctors, Hollywood Reporter, FOX radio, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Times of India, People magazine, Parents magazine, Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine, USA Today, Univision, ABC, CBS, and KHOU's Great Day Houston Show. She is a veteran radio talk show host as well as the host of the nationally syndicated PBS program, “Let’s Talk.” Also, Dr. Gross has written a semi-weekly blog for The Huffington Post and has blogged at EmpowHER.com since 2013. Recently, Houston Women's Magazine named her One of Houston's Most Influential Women of 2016. Dr. Gross is a longtime leader in finding solutions to the nation’s toughest education challenges. She co-founded the first-of-its kind Cuney Home School with her husband Jenard, in partnership with Texas Southern University. The school serves as a national model for improving the academic performance of students from housing projects by engaging the parents. Dr. Gross also has a public school elementary and secondary campus in Texas that has been named for her. Additionally, she recently completed leading a landmark, year-long study in the Houston Independent School District to examine how stress-reduction affects academics, attendance, and bullying in elementary school students, and a second study on stress and its effects on learning. Such work has earned her accolades from distinguished leaders such as the Dalai Lama, who presented her with the first Spirit of Freedom award in 1998. More recently, she was honored in 2013 with the Jung Institute award. She also received the Good Heart Humanitarian Award from Jewish Women International, Perth Amboy High School Hall of Fame Award, the Great Texan of the Year Award, the Houston Best Dressed Hall of Fame Award, Trailblazer Award, Get Real New York City Convention's 2014 Blogging Award, and Woman of Influence Award. Dr. Gross’ book, The Only Way Out Is Through, is available on Amazon now and offers strategies for life’s transitions including coping with loss, drawing from dealing with the death of her own daughter. Her next book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, is also available on Amazon now and teaches parents how to enhance their child’s learning potential by understanding and recognizing their various development stages. And her first research book was published by Random House in 1987 on health and skin care titled Beautiful Skin. Dr. Gross has created 8 audio tapes on relaxation and stress reduction that can be purchased on Amazon.com. Most recently, Dr. Gross’s book, The Only Way Out is Through, was named a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Silver Medal finalist in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the categories of Death & Dying as well as Grief. Her latest book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, was the National Parenting Product Awards winner in 2019, the Nautilus Book Awards winner in 2019, ranked the No. 1 Best New Parenting Book in 2019 and listed among the Top 10 Parenting Books to Read in 2020 by BookAuthority, as well as the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Gold Medal winner in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the category of How-To. Dr. Gross received a BS in Education and an Ed.D. (Doctorate of Education) with a specialty in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. She earned her Master’s degree in Secondary Education with a focus on Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Dr. Gross received her second PhD in Psychology, with a concentration in Jungian studies. Dr. Gross was the recipient of Kappa Delta Pi An International Honor Society in Education. Dr. Gross was elected member of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta.