Violent Death and the Grieving Child:
Helping children grieve a death of a family member or a friend is difficult. Sometimes the stigma connected to a
violent death of a family member or friend may add a layer of indifference that will cause difficulty in easing the child's
pain and ability to cope. Surviving parents can be confused by the complicated attitudes of the surviving child. Being overwhelmed
by their own frustration, hurting, and pain may find their parental guidance diminishing.
There are three primary problems facing grieving Children. Children grieve differently from adults and basically do not
have the experiences to which they can draw upon in coping with violent death.
When a parent is killed the other parent is or can be so in to his or her own grief, legal process, the investigative
process and other problems, that the grieving child may get passed aside. Children can handle grief by not talking, and
forcing themselves into solitude. The child may act out by showing anger. This child may see no purpose in continuing to live.
Many children may feel surviving is unfair. One-on-one discussion with other survivors can be very helpful.
The healing process is not simple. Each child who is grieving will have their own version of struggling with the grief.
Yet their are no simple short cuts for the child or any grieving person. Yet, with love patience and support of others, even
this terrible reality can be accepted by the child.