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Children's Grief Awareness Day: Supporting Grieving Children

Updated: Nov 4, 2023

As someone who has dedicated my life to understanding and helping others navigate the challenging journey of grief, I believe it's crucial to shine a light on how children cope with the death of a loved one. In this blog, I'll provide an overview of Children's Grief Awareness Day and why it holds such significance for me.

The Urgent Statistic

1 in 12 children will experience the death of a parent or sibling by the time they reach 18 years old. This statistic is a poignant reminder of the critical importance of raising awareness and providing specialized support for grieving children.

What is Children's Grief Awareness Day?

Children's Grief Awareness Day is typically observed on the third Thursday of November each year. This year, it is being observed on November 16th. It's more than just a date on the calendar; it's a poignant reminder that grief knows no age limits. It's a day dedicated to acknowledging the unique grief journey of children and providing them with the understanding and support they need to heal.

Why is it Important to Me?

On a deeply personal note, I've experienced the profound impact of childhood grief myself. I lost my beloved Mom when I was just 14 years old. This heartbreaking experience has been a driving force behind my lifelong commitment to supporting grieving children. It has shaped my journey as a grief counselor and advocate, motivating me to make a difference in this crucial field.

1. Recognizing Children's Grief: Throughout my career, I've witnessed firsthand how children often grieve differently from adults. They might struggle to find words to express their feelings, and their grief can manifest in numerous ways, from behavioral changes to physical symptoms. Children's Grief Awareness Day emphasizes the need to recognize these signs and offer unwavering support.

2. Reducing Stigma: In my work, I've encountered societal stigmas that underestimate children's ability to understand and process grief. This day helps break down those barriers, fostering open conversations and reducing the stigma surrounding children's grief.

3. Providing Resources: I am passionate about equipping professionals to support grieving children effectively. Children's Grief Awareness Day serves as a reminder of the importance of offering specialized resources and training to therapists, school counselors, and social workers. It's an opportunity to spotlight the tools available to assist these young hearts on their journey.

How Can You Get Involved?

1. Raise Awareness: I invite you to join me in raising awareness about Children's Grief Awareness Day, especially this year on November 16th. Share information on social media, through your website, or within your community. Together, we can educate others about the unique needs of grieving children.

2. Offer Support: Consider hosting workshops or virtual training sessions on children's grief for therapists, school counselors, and social workers. Your commitment and resources can play a crucial role in equipping professionals to help grieving children effectively.

3. Collaborate: Connect with organizations such as Hospice, Children's Grief Centers, and Grief Camps that share our dedication to grief support. Collaborate on events or initiatives that promote awareness and provide practical assistance to grieving children and their families.

4. Join the Supporting Grieving Students/Children Facebook Group:If you're an educator or therapist looking to expand your knowledge and connect with others who share your passion for supporting grieving children, consider joining the "Supporting Grieving Students/Children" Facebook group. This online community is a valuable platform for sharing insights, resources, and experiences related to children's grief. It's a place to collaborate, learn, and support one another in our mission to help grieving children.

5. Join the "Flip the Script" Movement: In observance of Children's Grief Awareness Month this November, the National Alliance for Children's Grief (NACG) is joining forces with its dedicated members to "Flip the Script" on grief. What is "Flip the Script"? It's all about shifting the perspective and changing the traditional approach to a situation and way of saying things to grieving children. When someone "flips the script," they embrace a different and innovative way of doing things. This November, our collective effort will revolve around reimagining common grief narratives, all in honor of Children's Grief Awareness Month.

To learn more about "Flip the Script Campaign" and the National Alliance for Children’s Grief (NACG): CGAM | Flip the Script - NACG

Examples include:

  1. Instead of Saying, "I Understand How You Feel," Say: "I can't fully understand how you feel, but I'm here to listen and support you."

  2. Instead of Saying "Don't Cry," Say: "It's okay to cry. Your feelings are important."

  3. Instead of saying, "Time heals all wounds, " Say: "Grief isn't something you get over, but learn to live with. It's okay to feel sad even as time goes on."

  4. Instead of Saying, "They're Watching Over You," Say: "Your loved one will always be a part of your heart and memories."

  5. Instead of Saying, "It's God's Plan," Say: "Sometimes, things happen that we can't fully understand, and it's okay to have questions. Do you have any questions that I can try to answer for you?"

  6. Instead of saying, "Don't talk about it," Say, "Feel free to talk about your loved one whenever you want. I'm here to listen. Tell me about them."

  7. Instead of Saying "Don't Feel Guilty," Say: "It's normal to have mixed feelings. What have you been feeling?"

  8. Instead of Saying, "You Shouldn't Be Upset," Say: "Your feelings are valid, and it's okay to be upset."

  9. Instead of Saying, "You Have to Be Strong for Your Family," Say: "You're an important part of the family, but it's okay to ask for support when you need it. How can I help?"

  10. Instead of Saying Nothing, Say: "I'm here for you, and I care about how you're feeling. Please know that I'm always here to listen."

Children's Grief Awareness Day, observed on November 16th this year is not just a date on the calendar—it's a day of empathy, support, and action. I am deeply committed to promoting children's grief awareness.

Together, let's ensure that no child's grief journey goes unnoticed and that they receive the understanding and support they truly deserve.

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