Kids and Loss
Giving Time - Teaching Skills for Life

This article is about kids and loss. Loss can be anything from death of a loved one to loss of a dummy or favorite teddy bear. All can produce loss emotions.
  • As we go through life we gather things and people; of value to us.
  • There is a cycle of gathering and letting go as we travel the journey that is our life.
  • Whenever we lose something of value we grieve for the loss of it.
  • These losses can include loss of a favorite teddy or toy, loss of a pet, loss of a friend.
  • How about loss of a much loved school teacher or school.
  • Has your child been bullied this might mean loss of safety and identity.
  • Are you as parents seperated or divorced which will mean lots of losses for your child(however well you have managed this)
  • Perhaps your child is disabled or has long term health problems.
  • Perhaps a famly member or friend has died , this is the most extreme type of grieving.
kids and loss
  • Our daughter is in a grieving process, at the moment.
  • Our daughter whio is adopted has been becoming very anxious at times recently after a fairly settled period.
  • She is 8 years old.
  • We were in the car with her one evening when she said "I feel like I am in a dream all the time."
  • She said "I feel like I am still 2 not 8."
  • Dad said "well you were living with us when you were 2".
  • She then said "well I feel like i am one then."
  • This got me thinking as I am aware and have been using a system called emotional logic for some time, you can find it here at
  • It is a self help tool that helps people understand their process through grieving.
  • Our daughter can be very angry at times, an out of control anger aimed at us primarily.
  • but she can also be sad and appear quite depressed at times.
  • Once she had said what she did about being in a dream things slotted into place.
  • We had a chat, where she explained that she was angry her mum had died.
  • She was sad she would never see her again.
  • So here was a little girl who was stuck in the grieving process.
  • But now we understood what was happening.
  • She had suffered many losses in being adopted by us:
  • Her birth mum, loss of her foster mum, loss of the home she knew.
  • As she also has autism there was loss in that as well.
  • loss of being "normal" whatever that is !
kids and grief
  • Now we know that wrapped up in these easy to see losses are other hidden losses that occur in times of change.
  • Loss or grief as it can be called trigger off loss reactions and emotions.
  • There is a process that we each take through the grieving journey.
  • The grieving process has been recognised to involve seven(7) stages or (usefully) stepping stones.
  • These are:
  • Shock, Denial, Anger, Guilt, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.
  • These stepping stones are emotional drives that occur in patterns as we and our kids adjust to change.
  • Each stepping stone may feel different for each person for instance you may feel shock in a different way to me.
  • The trick is knowing and understanding how each of these stepping stones feel for you.
  • Then you will understand where you are in the grieving process.
  • There is not a progression through the stepping stones. We may jump between several and back and forth.
  • Sometines we may be on a stepping stone only fleetingly.
  • A healthy growth cycle through grief will include the bargaining and acceptance stepping stones.
  • Sometimes we get stuck in the grieving process and cycle between 2 or more stepping stones which then produce a whilpool of emotions.
  • These whirlpools will appear as a magnification of emotions.
  • For instance your child may become irrationally angry at something.
  • They could also withdraw into themselves.
  • Self harming or compulsive drives such as binge eating for example are also the result of being stuck.
  • Suicidal thoughts and confrontational behaviors are others.
  • Disconnection, and not feeling able to face memories are more examples of being stuck.
  • Shame and paranoid thoughts, and chronic fatigue syndrome are also examples of what can happen if you are stuck in the grieving process.
  • Emotional logic is a self help system that helps people to understand their own grieving process and that of others.
  • Once we understand how this works we can start to have creative conversations.
  • This helps us quite quickly to recognise where others are in the grieving process.
  • There are four turning points that help us as we adjust to change these are:
  • Recognising the loss......this is the shock and denial stepping stones
  • Preventing Loss.......Anger and guilt steeping stones
  • Recovering loss....Bargaining and acceptance
  • Letting go of......acceptance stepping stone.
  • Just by asking questions and listening we can hear when people are stuck in their grief.
  • This can also be done with our kids.
  • All losses will break down into hidden losses.
  • For example going back to our daughter and her birth mother.
  • Our daughter's losses break down a bit like this:
  • Loss of birth mother.
  • loss of identity.
  • Loss of the mother she wants(in her imagination birth mother gives her everything)
  • Loss of birth family
  • Loss of love
  • Loss of being accepted
  • Loss of family connections.
  • Loss of trust in adults
These are just a few and some she may be able to break down into even more losses.
  • The reason for this breakdown of losses is that the main loss is often too much to look at and do anything about.
  • When we now look at our daughters hidden losses we can see if there is a small loss.
  • We now need to look for a small loss we can do something practical about (either recover it, or to let go of it and explore something else).
  • This is called a SMART loss.
  • Specific........Name the loss.....what have I lost...what might I lose
  • Measurable......How will you know you have succeeded or not?
  • Achievable.......Start with something small and practicle.
  • Reasonable.......Is it important enough to put in some effort and take some risk?
  • Time limited......How long will it take to acheive.
  • In the case of our daughters losses the one we will work on first is loss of family connections.
  • We are able to contact her family to help with this.
  • Our bargaining methods will have a big impact on how we progress through grief.
  • Are we passive, aggressive or assertive.
  • The best way is to be assertive without demanding your rights or wants.
kids and loss
  • I have tried to explain simply how this works.
  • I would recomend that anyone who is grieving purchase a pack which can be downloaded from the emotional logic website.
  • If you have a child who is grieving and stuck and you would like a pack you can also download it from here.
  • This pack costs £7.00 plus postage and packing.
  • If you have any questions I would be glad to help.
  • Please note I am not a doctor or professional but have used this successfully
  • with different people.
If you have any questions please feel free to use the form below or email us on the contact form

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