Children do not grieve like adults. In addition, no two children will grieve exactly the same way and each death experience will be different for the individual child.
The first step in helping grieving children is to understand this fact and to take Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt's advice as he cautions adults not to determine how they think children should grieve, feel, or react to the death of a loved one. Instead, "parents and other caring adults must allow children to be the teachers. Children can teach adults what the experience is uniquely like for them" (Wolfelt, 1991, p. 11).
The National Center for Grieving Children & Families (The Dougy Center) has published some of the best informational books and resources concerning grieving children. From their book, 35 Ways To Help A Grieving Child (Dougy Center, 1999) we have taken the following Ten Ways You Can Help Your Grieving Child. To find out more about the Dougy Center and their publications, go to www.dougy.org.