As adults, we might be able to better understand our own emotions and feelings of pain. We can understand grief as a response to loss, such as the death of a loved one. We are able to see and recognise the emotional and psychological nuances when it comes to the experience of grieving and mourning.
For kids and teenagers, it is not the same. At a young and pliable age, everything seems to be set in simple binaries. Either one feels sad or one feels happy. One feels weak versus one feels strong. Lonely versus loved, scared vs brave, comfort vs discomfort. With grief, these binary pairs may become shaken up. The addition of such emotional nuances will change the world as it is originally viewed by the child. They might become confused in the process of working out their feelings of grief. They might even start to feel guilt if they think they are not ‘miserable enough’ or should not feel happiness. In reality, grief encompasses all sorts of emotions and is expressed in a variety of ways. These emotions are constantly changing and evolving, especially as one grows up and becomes more mature in terms of their psychology.
As a result of their complicated natures, it is useful to nurture the child’s ability to cope with grief through activities and exercises. If you are a parent, a teacher, or a grief counsellor, knowing about these ideas and activities might come in handy.
One such activity that has recently been trending online is creating a paper fortune-teller. Instead of writing fortunes, the kid or teen comes up with coping skills. This makes the activity unique to each individual. Some examples of coping skills that can be penned down include listening to music, talking to a friend, going out for a walk, etc. No matter how small or how big the activity, the child should be able to learn how to brainstorm coping mechanisms that they can execute in a healthy way. When they play the game of the paper fortune-teller, they will have to do whichever coping skill they end up picking!
Aside from games, it is known fact that art therapy works wonders, especially for young grievers. One creative exercise to get kids and teens to explore what grief means to them is through the use of paint or sand. With the acquired materials, the concept behind this activity is simple and straightforward. Grief is almost always accompanied with a mix of emotions that blend and blur together. For grievers who are young, they might not be able to deal with all their emotions being put into a whirlwind. Using paint or sand, they can express the messiness of their thoughts and feelings. This not only creates a cathartic conversation of their grief, but also nurtures creativity and imagination.
With these ideas, you can better support a child in grief!
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