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Grief Counseling with children?

Old 05-03-2011, 10:47 AM
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Grief Counseling with children?

Just a brief catch up for those unfamiliar with the story . . .

We are raising our 7 yr old granddaughter ~ her mom passed away 2 yrs ago, her dad is an addict/alcoholic that gave her to us in Feb of this yr ~ he was unable to raise her any longer due to his disease.

She has never had any type of grief counseling for the loss of her mom (she was 4 almost 5yrs old when it happened) and has her first appointment tomorrow morning and I AM SCARED TO DEATH . . .

I truly believe she needs the therapy - to deal with all she has been through in her little years on this road of life but I also know that it usually gets worse before it gets better - ugh ugh ugh

It seems we are just getting her settled in a routine - she seems happy, secure and seems to feel safe. I know she still miss her mom deeply and we talk about her mom as much as she wants to ~

I just wonder - those of you who have experienced losses do any of you have experiences with children? Did the therapy help? Did it make it worse at first?

We have talked to her about counseling and she understands as much as I think one her age can - but she doesn't know that her first appointment is tomorrow!

So just a little nervous about causing her more pain before she gets better - but I know that's sometimes how it has to work right?

Maybe I'm just venting - preparing myself for it - once again ~ This recovery stuff requires BIG GIRL Panties -

Any other suggestions for tomorrow?

Thanks & PINK HUGS to all,
Rita
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Old 05-03-2011, 01:18 PM
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((((Pink))) - I don't have any experience with this, but just wanted to let you know that you, (((Kaleigh)) and (((Mr Pink))) are getting some extra prayers from me that this will be okay. I do know that kids her age are pretty resilient, and I think that will be a big plus. She's had a rough time, but she's still at the "learning about life" stage, and is feeling safe and secure. That's just got to be a good thing, IMO.

Love, hugs, and prayers,

Amy
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Old 05-03-2011, 07:11 PM
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Rita, I don't have any first hand experience with children and grief, however, I have a close friend who lost her dad when she was 5 years old. She told me she never was given the opportunity to really mourn her dad and feels that being unable to mourn her dad caused further pain down the road and has left her unable to cope with certain issues throughout her life. So I think you are doing the right thing for your little granddaughter...I think all children need to know that it's okay to cry and express their sadness over the loss of a parent. I think children need to know that they are still loved and need to feel secure, and I think you are doing a great job in these areas.

I am sorry for your loss and wish you and your granddaughter the very best tomorrow. Let us know how it goes.

Love,
Katy
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:57 AM
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My husband passed away about five and a half months ago. I have two children 11 and 12. A month after he passed I enrolled them in a children s grief group. So it is not one on one counseling but they are with other kids who loss someone. They talk about their loss and do activities to help with their grief. At first my kids were resistant but now they enjoy going. Talking about their loss is hard for them sometimes but I have noticed that they are working through it and listening to other kids stories has helped them alot. I opted for them to do a grief group becuase I thought it would be more helpful to have them relate to other kids who were going through the same thing.

Anyways I think getting your granddaughter help is good. She might not like it but in the long run it will help her deal with her loss.

Good Luck
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Old 05-04-2011, 08:23 AM
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My parents never talked to me about anything. Now they expect me to talk to them about things. I can't, it's how I was raised. I keep to myself and I can't help it. Talk to your child when they are young; this will help you when he/she get caught drinking or smoking. Because my parents never talked to me about anything (I really do mean anything), I don't talk to them about when I got caught. You must have a good and active relationship with your child.
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:21 AM
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Thanks for the support ~

The session was great!

She is such a smart little young lady! When we got to the dr's office - she said - "ReeRee, what am I hear for - this is not my eye dr or my shoulder dr (she broke her collarbone earlier in the yr)

I said "Honey, remember how we talked about we would see a counselor for us to help you when you feel really sad about things - well this is what we are going to check into today - to see if this is gonna work out for us"

Would you believe that precious little girl - gave me the biggest hug and said "ReeRee you always take such good care of me - I love you so much"

It makes me tear up when I type this!

I told her I loved her too and then bless her heart - she got this look of panic on her face - and said - "ReeRee would you please go with me?" I said "Sure, I'll go with you if you want me to and me, you and PawPaw will do this as a team!" She said "Great"

The counselor was wonderful with her.

Got her to open up and share how she felt, allowed me to share somethings and let Mr. Pink share his thoughts too.

SO SO SO grateful she didn't recommend any meds at this time - (we really didn't want that right now!) we go back for another appt with a therapist that works with children and grief issues with the "grief dog".

Counselor said we are doing a great job (love that validation - always helps)

so - we just keep on doing the Next Right Thing ~ One Day at a Time!

PINK HUGS to all,
Rita
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Old 05-05-2011, 10:02 PM
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Rita,
So glad to read that the first session went so well.

My husband and I are raising our niece, now 14, whose mother - my sister - died in June. We took her to grief counselling starting in October, which was the fastest they could fit her in, and just finished with the counsellor a few weeks ago.

Same as you said, she did activities that brought up memories and feelings. She shared stories and talked about dreams, drew pictures and wrote poems. It wasn't magic... but I think it helped.

Sounds like counselling will be helpful for your girl too, who is obviously open to it and trusts you to walk it with her. Lucky girl.

Lisa
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Old 05-09-2011, 11:33 AM
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Thanks Lisa -
So Glad it has helped your niece!

I wanted to say also that your signature "lost my sister Colleen to opiates 06/13/10. . . been missing her for as long as I can remember."

wow - I could so relate to that because I physically left my ex husband 11/2008 but because of his alcoholism/addiction ~ he left our marriage many many years before that!
Somedays I wonder really if he was ever "in" our 16 plus year marriage -

Especially now that God has truly brought a wonderful healthy man in my life and I see what it is like to have a true partnership and marriage with someone that really cares for me.

Anyway - Prayers for you & your husband as you raise your niece! I pray she continues to do well!

PINK HUGS!
Rita
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Old 05-09-2011, 08:10 PM
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Rita, thanks so much for the good wishes -- and for your understanding. I'm really glad that you have a healthy relationship now and the chance to experience a caring partnership. I'm sending up warm wishes for you and your family too, and special thanks for taking care of another little one that won't be lost because of you.

Lisa
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:07 AM
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You're doing a good thing... My sister was 12 at the time of my dad's death, two years ago, I was 17, so not nearly as young as K, but my sister hasn't gotten counseling (we had A LOT going on at the time), I'm not sure if she will but I do think it would help her. She uses me as a sounding board for now, but even then she's quite quiet. I'm in therapy...but it's not specific to grief counseling, though I do talk about his death a lot as it plays into a ton other things for me. It's helpful to talk and feel validated about what you are feeling (and I mean that, I was and still am in many respects a keep-to-myself kid, don't talk about anything personal with anyone kind of person, it's not fun and I hope this combats it for K). My dad died an addict, so it may be a little different than having a mom who was the "good one" die of other causes that were not in her control. There were a lot of psychological issues for me before my dad's death, so I guess my counseling is a little more, I don't know, in depth maybe. It's worth it though, I would be batshit crazy right now if I didn't go, and you're doing the absolute right thing by your granddaughter. Good job
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Old 05-17-2011, 01:24 PM
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Thanks Jason -

I appreciate the support - and so very glad that you are going to counseling - honey please please don't give up on you!!!

I'm 47 yrs old & didn't start therapy until my 40's and somedays I still feel "batshit" crazy - lol but thanks to the tools of the program and the God of my understanding - I can get back on track fairly quickly!

She is such an awesome little young lady - we are seeing her thrive and grow more secure at our house daily! It is truly a blessing and yes the counseling is helping!

She can't wait til her next session! What an answered prayer!

PINK HUGS to all!
Rita
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:32 AM
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Same as you said, she did activities that brought up memories and feelings. She shared stories and talked about dreams, drew pictures and wrote poems. It wasn't magic... but I think it helped.
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Old 05-21-2011, 07:00 AM
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my son was way younger (10 mths old) when my husband died, HE DID GRIEVE...they say kids dont but they do...

he never got councelling but, i am very open to our feelings and emotions in this house, because i am!..i cry where i please, and open to my feelings to the kid(s) all the time, maybe that helps too...

you know alot of poeple get so "strange" when we talk about "dad" but he is always part of us every single day...i had some one say "you know Maggie, you talk about Bill too much to the kids"...EXCUSE ME??!! who gives them the right, they still have their spouse...and that is the thing..UNTIL you are in our shoes, dont tell me what is right or wrong...I have this alcohol disease in this family...and its killing them! i need to do things HEALTHY...and talking about Bill is so RIGHT in my books...

keep the air ways always open...and talk! bring loving memories to fill her mind....

~god bless
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Old 05-23-2011, 10:29 AM
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I agree with you Maggie. We talk about my sister a lot too. One of the things that has been important to me, and I think to all of us, is to remember her honestly.

That is, she did not become a saint because she died. She was a very troubled young woman, and we try to remember all sides of her, her flaws and her strengths. We try to honour my niece's relationship with her by remembering the gifts her mother gave her, and the treasured memories. But we also try to respect my niece's true experience with her mother by also acknowledging the pain and disappointment that sometimes arose out of that relationship too.

By grieving the loss of my sister as a whole person, a real person, we try to find our own peace with what happened.
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Old 05-23-2011, 08:30 PM
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@SISTERSHELP, thank you...and i agree with you also....trust me. my husband was no saint nor was i...but i do tell the kids about the good the bad and the ugly...but in the mist of all that..that is their dad...we are not perfect.i agree about finding PEACE on what happened...mine is still unexplained, which is hard to tell the kids, i dont know, we have no answers and never will....
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Old 05-24-2011, 11:59 AM
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thanks for sharing your experiences - like you Maggie - many ppl think we allow her to talk about her mom too much but I allow her to talk as much as she wants!

She went to garage sales this past wkend with my Mom and she bought a gift for her mom ~ we went yesterday to put it at the gravesite - she also brought the gift she made at school for Mother's Day. When we left we said "bye Mom" just like it was something very normal -

Now - We don't say anything negative about her mom and don't allow others to do so in front of her! she doesn't like it when people do that - actually she is a defender of the universe!! She will always take up for the "underdog" lol

Her mom died from an aneurysm - she was not an addict - her dad is the addict, not in recovery and that's why she is living with us. She doesn't allow you to say anything about him either - even if it is factual.

Right now - not tackling that battle - will let that come out in some of the other counseling sessions.

Thanks again for all the support - It helps a bunch!
PINK HUGS,
Rita
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Old 05-24-2011, 08:30 PM
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Rita,
I think that's really normal, especially for children, but for all of us, really, not to want to speak badly about someone we have lost. I think your approach to it is absolutely right, not to push your granddaughter to deal with anything negative that she is not ready for. She'll let you know when and if she is ready to talk about those things with you. And I think your willingness to keep the memories of her parents alive is healthy -- for all of you.
Lisa
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:34 AM
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Thanks Lisa!

She has really blossomed in the last 4 months she has been with us - you can truly see the peace in her face! It is a blessing!

I know I didn't really learn to talk about HOW I FELT until I got into recovery (Al-Anon) so I'm trying to help her learn to express what "emotion" she is feeling - sometimes just naming it helps - or well it helps me!

PINK HUGS,
Rita
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Old 08-09-2012, 05:01 PM
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"Butterfly, fly, fly away from here. I know we'll try, try through the laughter and tears. You'll always be a part of me, in my heart you'll always be"


I feel the same as you are when my cousin died at the age of 18 because of lung cancer. I wanted to share with you a new application that I'm using to create a memory book for my cousin who recently passed away. It's called Evertalk and it's a Facebook application. I found it to be very easy to use and highly recommend it.

everta.lk
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