Support from Peers
Part of the process of grief is learning how to live in the "new normal" of our lives. In this process, grieving kids need support. This support can be especially helpful coming from other grieving children and teens, those of their same age who are going through the same experiences.
Help from other children and teens
The person our children love is gone, and so is a lot of the life that they have known. Part of the process of grief for them is learning how to live in this new life, this "new normal."
But just at the time they're traveling this new and difficult and frightening road of grief, many kids and teens feel especially alone. Since they usually don't know anyone else, especially of their own age, who have gone through something like this, they feel isolated, different. Alone.
They need support support from other teens and other families going through the same things, feeling the same feelings, understanding each other because they too have experienced the death of someone they loved very deeply.
What is peer support?
Teens and younger children at the Caring Place have taught us of the importance of friends who accompany them on their journeys. While no one can take away anyone else's grief, or walk their journeys for them, no one needs to walk the road of grief alone.
Hope and healing can be found in the midst of grief, something which is greatly helped by the support of other teens or other children, who have had similar thoughts, feelings and experiences. Expressing their grief, sharing their feelings with someone who listens to and accepts those feelings, can help to make the grief more bearable.
That's how peer support groups like those at the Caring Place work. They provide a place where teens can be with other teens, younger children can be with other children their age all of whom have gone through similar experiences. It's a place to be together, to understand each other, to listen, to talk and ultimately to just know they're not alone.
They feel supported when others their own age can give them feedback and encouragement about their feelings and experiences after the death because they're going through it too.
Feeling Our Feelings
One of the best things that anyone can do for themselves is to feel and express their grief. And one of the best things that anyone can do to support their children is to allow them to feel and express their own grief. This may not be what you expected to hear. It may be the exact opposite of what you thought would help. But we can't take a detour around our grief.
We can't get to the other side without going through the door of grief. Feeling our grief our sadness, our anger, our pain, our broken-heartedness, our loneliness, our fears when we're ready and with the support of others who care about us, is a huge way of taking care of ourselves.
No one else can take a detour around their own grief either. Allowing others to feel their grief their own sadness, their anger, their pain, their broken-heartedness, their loneliness, their fears when they are ready, and with the support of others who care about them, is a huge way of taking care of them.
The only way through the grief is to grieve.