Thousands of children each year experience the death of a loved one before they reach the age of 18, and some 10 to 15 percent of them experience mental health problems, such as depression, as a result. One study found that childhood grief is correlated with low grades, sleep problems, moodiness, behavior problems, and an inability to concentrate. When a loved one dies, children are faced with a kaleidoscope of feelings, thoughts, myths, and questions. This workbook offers tools that you can use to help a grieving child in your life deal with these feelings.
The first section of Why Did You Die? is for adults. It describes a child's grief process and what can be expected as it progresses. The latter section includes activities you can do with a grieving child. Using an art therapy approach, the activities guide the child through the issues he or she must eventually confront. Different activities help the child express difficult feelings, separate myths from facts, and understand the finality of death. This direct yet non-threatening, secular approach will help children learn, grow, and thrive.
Erica Leeuwenburgh, LPC, is a licensed professional counselor, board-certified art therapist, and child life specialist. In 1987 she established a pediatric psychosocial program for children with the Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital at... Read more
Ellen Goldring, LPC, is a board-certified and registered art therapist and certified child life specialist. She is currently a supervisor of Child Life/Creative Arts Therapy Services at Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital at Hackensack University... Read more