The loss of a child is one of the most traumatic experiences a family can face. Each family member grieves uniquely, which can result in marital strain and family disunity that can also have a profound impact on surviving children. H. Norman Wright has stated, “It typically takes parents five to 10 years to stabilize their lives after the loss of a child.” In this session, licensed mental health professionals and ministry leaders will take a deeper look at how the family dynamics of the grief journey affect the surviving children, focusing on children 18 and under. Participants will examine research on how bereavement in young individuals can disrupt the development of self-identity and also have an impact on their relationship with others in their circle of support, leading to isolation and depression. This session will also examine the phenomenon of “survivors’ guilt” that siblings, cousins, and friends experience after the loss of a young person in their family, school, church, or community. Participants will be able to utilize techniques to help children through their grieving process when a sibling, cousin, or friend dies.
Discuss the unique ways grief manifests in each family member and its impact on surviving children.
Identify the increased psychological and physical symptoms bereaved young adults experience post-loss.
Develop techniques that may be used with children and youth when a sibling, cousin, or friend dies that also diminish “survivor’s guilt.”