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Grief and Children

How Pre-Teens and Early Adolescents Express Grief and Ways You Can Help

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How Pre-Teens and Early Adolescents Express Grief

  • Physical symptoms (headaches, stomachaches, sleeping and eating disorders, hypochondria) Wide mood swings
  • Able to verbally expresses emotions
  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
  • Increase in risk-taking and self-destructive behaviors
  • Anger; aggression; fighting; oppositional behavior
  • Withdrawal from adults
  • Depression; sadness
  • Lack of concentration and attention
  • Identity confusion; testing limits

Helping the Grieving Pre-Teen and Early Adolescent

  • Accept that they will experience mood swings and physical symptoms.
  • Encourage them to honestly recognize their painful feelings and find positive outlets in physical and creative activities.
  • Listen for the feelings behind their words and actions and respond with empathy.
  • Be truthful and factual in explaining the loss.
  • Help them develop and maintain their sense of identity.
  • Allow preteens to make choices that are not harmful. Encourage safe expressions and experiences of beginning independence.
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