By Matt Weingarden
Windsor Parent Magazine
Grief can be defined as the conflicting feelings caused by the end of/change in a familiar pattern of behavior. Without a doubt, it eventually impacts every one of us. For children this can be an exceptionally difficult process to endure.
Becky Ewen is an Advanced Certified Grief Recovery specialist with the Grief Recovery Method Institute. The Grief Recovery Method is an action program for moving beyond death, divorce, career, faith and other losses. Ewen serves as a facilitator, offering three type of programs; Recovering From Loss and Grief, Pet Loss and Helping Children Grieve. “Grief can be so much more than the loss of a loved one,” said Ewen. “It can be divorce…or something like moving to a new home. For children it can be even more traumatic…a change in school, friends and familiar routine.” A GRS can help a person overcome and deal with the changes in life brought on by your losses through one of several programs offered. The
Helping Children Grieve is a program designed to help parents to help their children deal with loss. While Ewen never actually works with a child, she gives parents the tools and guidelines to recognize that a child is grieving. “School teaches our children to read, write and do math so their lives will be successful. While they are important, a loss is unavoidable,” Ewen said. “Sadly, we don't always have the resources to teach our children useful skills to deal with the feelings caused by loses, large and small…mainly because we do not know how.” She says that often parents wish to speak to her
about ‘Anticipatory Grief’ is about to affect a child’s life – like the impending loss of a grandparent. “How can I help my child get through this process?” asked Ewen. “It important for parents to have this information because they know their child best.” Ewen says the tools she shares with parents help them to recognize that there may be signs of grief within their own children. “It could even be something like being bullied at school. It could be something occurring on social media platforms,” Ewen said. “While most parent are on top of what’s going on we can’t be there 24/7…its impossible.”
According to Ewen, when you recognize that something isn’t right with your child – it may be time to have a conversation. And how do you start a conversation of that sort?
She recommends that the adult take the lead in the conversation and initiate the discussion;
1./ Be honest, do tell the truth about how you feel first. This establishes a tone of trust and helps your child feel safe in opening up about their feelings.
2./ Do recognize that grief is emotional and not intellectual. Sad or scary feelings are normal.
3./ Do listen with your heart, not your head - allow emotions to be expressed without judgment.
4./ Do remember that each child is unique - they may not feel the same way that you do about the loss.
5./ Do be patient (give it time, it may not happen initially) Don’t give up! “We as parents sometimes think that its normal not to share our feelings…I’m going to be strong and stuff everything down,” Ewen explained. “I say this…what’s wrong with sharing feelings. When a child sees and hears that you are really willing to open up, it just might allow for the start of a meaningful exchange.” And that can change lives.
Free upcoming Workshops with Becky Ewen include;
Tecumseh Public Library tonight (June 11th) at 6:30 p.m.
Kingsville Public Library tomorrow evening (June 12th) at 6:30 p.m.
You can visit her website at www.beckyewen.com to find out more.