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Bereavement and Grief

According to the National Cancer Institute, unlike adults, bereaved children do not experience continual and intense emotional and behavioral grief reactions. Children may seem to show grief only occasionally and briefly, but in reality a child’s grief usually lasts longer than that of an adult. This may be explained by the fact that a child’s ability to experience intense emotions is limited. Mourning in children may need to be addressed again and again as the child gets older. Since bereavement is a process that continues over time, children will think about the loss repeatedly, especially during important times in their life, such as going to camp, graduating from school, getting married, or giving birth to their own children.


What are the stages of grief?

According to Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, the Five Stages of Grief are:

Not accepting or acknowledging the death. No crying.

Feelings of wanting to fight back, blaming the individual for leaving them.

Takes place before the loss. Begging, wishing, and praying for them to come back.

Feelings of hopelessness, frustration, self pity, lack of control, feeling numb. Perhaps feeling suicidal.

Accepts the reality of the loss.

Some people can get stuck in the first four stages of grief and, until they move to the fifth stage acceptance, their lives can be painful. Practicing good self care habits, such as eating a balanced diet, drinking non-alcoholic fluids, exercising and getting enough rest will help you to deal with the pain and shock of loss until acceptance is reached.

Helping young children deal with loss

South Colonie's social workers offer this list of books that can help elementary-age children deal with death and the loss of a loved one. Click here for the book list.

grief support programs


445 New Karner Road Albany, NY 12205

The Capital Wave Riders is a special program The Community Hospice sponsors to help young people who've lost someone they loved. Grief can overwhelm children and teens, and we're committed to helping them develop the skills they need to cope. Wave Riders is a free program offered each spring and fall, at several locations throughout the area. It provides kids and teens a place to go to express their feelings in a caring environment, either after school or on the weekend. Young people are always grouped by age. There is also a free program for parents and guardians that meets at the same time.

703 Union Street Schenectady, NY 12305

The Haven Center serves children and teens (ages 4 - 17) who are experiencing loss due to: Bereavement due to the death of a loved one, separation or divorce of their parents, changes in family structure, custody issues, foster care placement, and grief reactions as a result of a life threatening illness of a loved one. Individualized needs and family preferences are some of the factors that determine the frequency of counseling sessions for children and teen clients. The Haven grief counselors are available to the families for consultation on the changing needs that may alter schedules. Group support for children and teens is age divided into three categories: 6 – 8 years old, 9 – 12 years old and 13 – 17 years old.

Survivor-to-survivor peer support model, post-suicide family support (in-home), support groups throughout the Capital Region.

775 Lancester Street Albany, NY 12303

Individual counseling specializing in grief and loss.