Children who are Allowed to Grieve Become Stronger Adults

sad-1223006-639x426I don’t mean that one has to allow every child to wail and scream for 30 minutes over every little boo-boo. But sometimes we adults don’t realize how big a sorrow is to a little child.

Also–and this is more tricky–sometimes children cry over something little because it “represents” something bigger. Being aware of this helps us treat the crying the way we should–with compassion, patience, and respect of what the child is enduring.

Some children experience far more grief than others. This could include children who:

  • are born with physical struggles such as missing limbs, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, deafness, or blindness or many other struggles
  • are born with learning struggles such as autism or dyslexia
  • are born into poverty, which usually affects their ability to thrive emotionally in public school
  • have parents with chronic (or even short-term) illness
  • experience greater losses than most, including parents divorcing or losing a parent to death
  • are born into abusive families (although these children often learn early to stuff grief, and others may not be able to draw them out until they become adults)

In general, these children are far more likely to cry over something “little” to release grief over the big things in their lives. This is because they cannot grieve like adults.

For instance, on the day of their birth, they do not have the chance to cry over the discovery of their physical struggles (like the parents do).

And they don’t have the capacity to one day sit up and say, “Hey, I’m deaf; now I can grieve that I won’t ever hear music.”

Not to mention that even though parents may grieve a physical problem with their baby at birth, they will continue to grieve off and on through different ways.

Why wouldn’t a child?

We need to be careful not to shut down a child’s grief.

Otherwise, this unresolved, unmourned grief will carry over into adulthood, affecting their relationships, emotional health, and emotional and mental strength.

In the worst scenarios, they may reject God because they were not shown enough of His compassion, love, kindness, and caring.

Allowing a child to express sorrow helps them become loving and compassionate toward others as well.

For a serious post, this is getting long, so I will stop and continue next time.

Christa Upton Black Hills Picture Books PO Box 293 Custer, SD 57730

About Christa Upton

I am a wife and mother of three children ages 11, 14, and 18. I used to be a stay-at-home mom (teaching piano & dance, volunteering, etc). From 2007 to 2010, I suffered accidental Toxic Injury (also called Multiple Chemical Sensitivity or MCS). MCS has had major impact on our family, but the forced time in bed has given me time to write. So far, I have published 4 children's books (2 in e-book format on Kindle, one in Print-on-Demand at CreateSpace, and one printed by a local printer). Sometimes I miss my old life, but I love writing for children!
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5 Responses to Children who are Allowed to Grieve Become Stronger Adults

  1. Stephanie says:

    I think we as adults too often tell children that they need to shut down their emotions instead of acknowledging the child’s feelings and we wonder why they don’t communicate when they get older. Allowing a child to feel emotion and channeling how they express that emotion is better than telling them to stop feeling. Thanks for the post.

    • Christa Upton says:

      Such a good point!!! We adults aren’t very logical sometimes…. 😛 Hugs, Stephanie.

    • Christa Upton says:

      I’ve been thinking more about this. Wondering–why IS it that we adults often try to shut down children’s emotions (or fight the urge to do so)? Any thoughts?

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