Tips On Helping A Grieving Child Or Teen

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Photo by Kristina Tripkovic on Unsplash

| 1 min | From Amy Grambeau |

The Washtenaw County Chapter of Families Against Narcotics (FAN) recently hosted a virtual family forum featuring Peggy E. Galimberti, LMSW, ACSW and Nancy Biehn, from Ele’s Place Ann Arbor.  They donated their time and expertise to teach us how important it is to recognize grief in children, teens, young adults and their families when experiencing a death of someone close.  Although Washtneaw FAN’s mission is to help reduce the overdose deaths in our community, it is a reality we are faced with in increasing numbers, especially during the COVID pandemic.  

In their powerful presentation, Peggy and Nancy shared tips on how to provide support for a grieving person, particularly youth:

–       Acknowledgment is the Best Medicine – Simply saying “I see you”.

–       Be as honest as possible. Tell the truth, even when it is hard. 

–       Use simple, concrete, age appropriate language.

–       Keep it simple at first.  Giving too much information or too many 

         details can be overwhelming.

–       Layer on information – adding on more details over time.

–       Reassure the child that their thoughts, feelings or behavior did not 

         cause the death.

–       Invite questions anytime.

They also pointed out there are common times we can re-experience loss:

–       Holidays, birthdays or anniversaries of the death 

–       Life transitions such as moving or starting at new school 

–       Special events such as graduations, proms, a child’s sporting event or recital

–       Grief triggers:  A song, smells, or places that bring back memories 

These suggestions are offered to assist in helping children and teens to mourn in a healthy way and continue life with hope and confidence. Both Peggy and Nancy encourage a visit to their website, Elesplace.org for more information, resources and guidance.  

Next month Washtenaw FAN hosts a virtual meeting on the brain science behind Yoga and how it can aid recovery on a physiological basis, featuring Psychiatrist Debroah Hollander and Jessica Rosen, LAADC, E-YRT and Psychologist.  Vistit WashenawFAN.org for information on virtually attending this workshop.