Grief in children and youth can manifest itself in many ways that are not always obvious. For example, butterflies in the stomach, headaches, angry outbursts, nightmares, challenging behaviour at school or lack of focus and concentration. This can cause delays to emotional, psychological and social developmental stages within the child or young person, and if left unaddressed has the ability to influence coping skills throughout their life. Furthermore, there is sufficient clinical evidence that suggest that loss and grief combined with ongoing family issues during childhood may lead to increased vulnerability to emotional and physical ill health later in life.
“Childhood damage left untreated does not go away. It lies inside a person, flaring up through adult life, creating phobias, dysfunction and pain. Then it mutates to reappear in succeeding generations”
– Rod Myer, Good Weekend
When loss and grief issues are recognised and addressed, particularly within a safe, open and sensitive manner with a trained person, children and youth have a strong ability to grow through their grief to heal, to develop compassion, to become resilient and adopt suitable coping skills along the way.