The Typical Grieving Process

There is no right or wrong way to grieve, no "appropriate" length of time to experience grief following the death of an important person. The grieving process varies from child to child and changes as the child grows older. Children's reactions to death depend upon the child's age, developmental level, previous life experiences, emotional health before the death, and family and social environment. Common expected responses include:

  • Emotional reactions such as sadness, anger, guilt, insecurity
  • Changes in behavior such as aggression, loss of appetite, sleep problems
  • Interpersonal difficulties such as social isolation, clinging, irritability
  • Changes in thinking, including constant thoughts about the person, preoccupation with death
  • Altered perceptions including believing the deceased is still present, dreaming about the person

Links

American Hospice Foundation Grief Center
Information for employers, educators, and healthcare providers, as well as articles, consumer-friendly educational materials, and professional training tools on grief.

Association for Death Education and Counseling
Professional organization dedicated to promoting excellence and recognizing diversity in death education, care of the dying, grief counseling and research in thanatology.

The Centering Corporation
Organization dedicated to providing education on grief and loss for professionals and the families they serve.

Hospice Foundation Of America, grief resources
Wide range of resources on coping with grief, including articles, a newsletter, and a forum for sharing personal stories.

Open to Hope
Online resource center dedicated to helping people find hope again after loss.

Wendt Center for Loss and Healing
Resource for restoring hope and healthy functioning to adults, teens, and children who are coping with grief, loss, and trauma. Includes informational pages on grief and comprehensive resource lists.