Why Did You Die?: Activities to Help Children Cope with Grief and Loss

Why Did You Die?: Activities to Help Children Cope with Grief and Loss

by Ellen Goldring


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781572246041
Publisher: New Harbinger Publications
Publication date: 04/01/2008
Series: Instant Help Series
Edition description: Workbook
Pages: 136
Sales rank: 174,794
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.32(d)

About the Author

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 Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, NJ. This Child Life/Creative Arts Therapy program provides comprehensive psychosocial support services for infants, children, and adolescents with art, music, dance/movement, and drama therapists and child life specialists. Her clinical work focuses predominantly on hospitalized, chronically ill, or bereaved children and their parents, and children whose parents are critically ill. She is an assistant visiting professor at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY where she has taught for more than 10 years. She lectures nationally and has published several articles.

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 Medical Center in Hackensack, NJ. She offers therapy for the children of adults with life-threatening illnesses and for medically ill patients and siblings, and has developed children's bereavement programming.

Table of Contents

To Parents     vii
Grief and Developmental Stages     ix
How Children Grieve     xiii
Complicated and Traumatic Grief     xv
Dear Kids     xvi
Everything Changes     1
Changes You Can Control and Changes You Can't     4
How You See Yourself and How Others See You     7
You Have Many Feelings     9
Your Life Is a Journey     12
You Have a Support System     15
Every Family Is Unique     18
A Special Place Can Feel Good     21
A Gift from Your Loved One     24
Everything Has a Life Span     27
There Are Many Causes of Death     29
How Your Loved One Died     31
Special Things You Did with Your Loved One     34
What Your Loved One Enjoyed     36
The Idea of Death Looks Different to Each of Us     39
Illnesses, Accidents, and Natural Events     41
Death Stops the Body from Working     44
This Death Was Not Your Fault     46
The Funeral Service     48
People Give Gifts to Show They Care     51
A Place People Go to Remember     54
Beliefs About What Happens After Death     57
Keeping a Feeling of Togetherness     60
Feelings of Grief Can Change     63
People Grieve Differently     66
Wishing Things Could Be Different     69
Times You Think About Your Loved One     71
Pretending to Be a Superhero     75
It's Okay to Play     78
Sharing Your Worries     81
When You Feel Angry     84
Some Things Change and Some Remain the Same     87
You Will Always Be You     90
Taking Something to the Place You Remember Your Loved One     93
Things You Wish You Had Said     96
Honoring the Memory of Your Loved One     99
Memories Are Important     102
Sharing Memories with Others     105
Life Has Ups and Downs     108
Taking Care of Yourself     111

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