Kids Grieve Too
Most people don’t know how deeply children are affected by the death of a loved one. Society does not consider children’s grief. We think of children as resilient, and they are, but not in all ways at all times and certainly not when isolated and misunderstood. Missouri has higher than the national rate at 8.4% of children under the age of 18 are bereaved, As a comparison, 10% of the national population gets the flu. We aren’t afraid to talk about the flu.
We have turned a blind eye to the implications of unaddressed grief and how it shows up in poor academic performance, developmental delays, alcohol and drug abuse, suicide, violence, and other mental and behavior problems. We need to find ways to help children navigate their loss. We need to support them in their grieving and allow them to be sad and in pain.
Kate's Heart creates care packs for kids and provides them to hospitals, funeral homes, counselors, churches, schools wherever we can identify kids who need them. While counseling is preferable, many children do not have access or opportunity. Our packs of books on grief, stuffed animal, activities and art supplies help children cope.
One of the most important things that grieving kids need is for the caring adults around them to talk about what has happened. Seeing children in pain is difficult for parents and educators, Some may choose to respond with silence rather than risk saying what they fear could be the wrong thing. However, by saying nothing, the child may assume their pain does not matter and the adults around them do not care, or that it is wrong to discuss death and loss. Our packs give parents and others a way to talk about the emotions of grief in a loving and caring way with simple suggestions on how to talk about the book and experience.