• Raising Resilience

Resources for Parents Supporting Grieving Kids

Updated: Mar 24

Raising Resilience board member, Lisa Gsellman, sat down with grief counselor, Nani Baran, MA, LMHC to ask how parents can support their kids as they process and grieve the loss of their friends and classmates.


Nani shared wisdom from her years in private practice and leading grief support groups through Harrison Medical Center. In the video, Nani answer’s some of the following questions:


· What does processing look like in teens?

· What are helpful conversations to have with our kids?

· What are some conversation starters?

· What if our teens need help beyond what we can offer them?

· How do we process our own grief while staying present for our kids?


Watch the video


Here are some top takeaways:


GRIEF IS A VERB

Each person’s grief is unique. Grief is both private and shared and the torrent of emotions is normal. Struggling with the paradox of holding grief and pain while wondering how life continues to swirl around us is also normal. We can hold beauty and sorrow at the same time.


REGULATING EMOTIONS HELP PARENTS SUPPORT CHILDREN

As much as possible, parents should rely on their own support systems to help them process and regulate their own emotions so that it’s easier to be there for their children.


DON’T RUSH THE PROCESS

Parents are the rock children’s waves cash against. At first those waves might be intense but over time the intensity, duration, and frequency will minimize. It’s natural for us to want to stop the pain our children are experiencing, but don’t rush through the natural emotions that are necessary for them to return to a more balanced state.


WATCH FOR ESCALATION

If your child was already experiencing anxiety and depression, be aware that a tragic loss of this nature can elevate that anxiety and depression. Double down on coping strategies like breathing and getting outside and seek professional help if you/they need it.


The concepts Nani uses in private practice and through her time with Harrison grief groups come largely from Dr. Alan Wolfelt's work, particularly his book Understand Your Grief: Ten Essential Touchstones for Finding Hope and Healing Your Heart.



Resources and events to help you and your children through this process:


Bainbridge Youth Services: Bainbridge Youth Services - Supporting the whole student, every step of the way. (askbys.org)

Youth ages 13-21 can make an appointment to talk to a counselor on theirwebsite, or just swing by their office during our hours. Counselors are available to talk, support, and listen.


Helpline House: Social Services Bainbridge Island | Helpline House

Helpline House has therapists available during this time. Appointments can be made quickly with no expectation beyond single appointments to enter into an ongoing relationship with a counselor.


Tips for grieving teens: https://www.dougy.org/assets/uploads/Tips_for_Grieving_Teens.pdf


Teen Link (help line for teens):

https://www.crisisconnections.org/teen-link/

Teen Link is a confidential and anonymous help line for teens. Trained teen volunteers are available to talk with you about any issue of concern. No issue is too big or too small!


Virtual Events:

https://wildgrief.org/events/april-hike-habit

  • Saturday, April 10, 2021

  • 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM

  • Wild Grief Virtual Hike Habits are an opportunity to come together for grief peer support and nature connection from the comfort of your own home.

https://wildgrief.org/events/solo-together-teen-1

  • Thu, Jun 24,2021 10:00AM & Sun, Jun 27, 20219:00 PM

  • Explore the wilderness in your own neighborhood and meet with peers twice a day during this virtual, intensive 4-day experience. You’ll help one another deal with loss through reflection and guided activities.

Books:

· Talking About Death: A Dialogue Between Parent and Child, Earl A. Grollman

· When Someone Very Special Dies, Marge Heegaard


Additional Resources:


Live Events:

https://wildgrief.org/events?category=On%20the%20Trail%20Together

  • Thu, Aug 12, 20217:00 AM - Sun, Aug 15, 20217:00 PM

  • Goat Rocks Wilderness (map)

  • Teen Wilderness Trek is a 4-day backpacking trip for teens 13-18 who have lost someone significant to them.

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Raising Resilience

221 Winslow Way West, Suite 301

Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

info@raisingresilience.org

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