Three Ways to Turn Bad Grief into Good Grief
Grief is not something we ever look forward to. Yet we know that because we love, we will grieve, as death is part of life. Is there anything good that can come from the greiving process?
As a hospice volunteer, I work with school children who participate in the child bereavement program we offer. I always begin my first session by exploring the word grief. We identify and discuss all the deep emotions that come from losing a loved one. Then we discuss ways to express these emotions in healthy ways.
So the first way to turn bad grief into good grief to to let children know that grief is a normal part of life, and each person, including you and them, goes through the grieving process in their own way. In other words, its OK (and normal) to be very sad when a loved one has died.
Another way to assit children to have a positive experience as they grieve is to give them opportunities to create special momentos about their lost loved one. Children can create memory booklets/bracelets, posters, etc. of the person or pet they lost. As they work on these types of projects, they can share the joy and love that was present in the relationship before the death of their loved one. These types of tokens can be long reminders of the good that was present in the relationship with the loved one who died.
A third way children can experience "good grief" is by discovering inner skills which will support and empower them for the rest of their lives. As they become aware of the thoughts and feelings associated with grief, for example ( I will always feel sad, or Nothing is fun anymore), they can learn ways to change them into more positive ones. As they create positive affirmations by either speaking them or writing them down, they can observe how their thoughts and feelings directly affect their experience. For example, "I feel happy right now ! I have fun riding my bicycle."
If you are interested in ways children can experience "good grief" as mentioned above, any of our books or programs are great tools for you and your child !
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