Motherhood Center Founder, Gabriela Gerhart, recently toured Bo’s Place and visited with Bo’s Place Executive Director, Mary Beth Staine. Gabriela said, “Bo’s Place is such a wonderful support center, even though people there are struggling with grief, there is such a happy and positive vibe.” The center offers support services to children, ages 3 to 18, and their families who have experienced the death of a child or an adult in their
Mary Beth Staine, Bo’s Place Executive Director, smiling with Gabriela Gerhart, Motherhood Center Founder.
immediate family, as well as programs for grieving adults. They also have a good support group for pregnancy loss. Bo’s Place was founded on the belief that grieving children sharing their experiences with each other greatly helps in their grief journey.
Mary Beth Staine said, “There is no cure for grief, however each of us has the ability to support grieving families on their journey to hope and healing.”
Mary Beth offered some tips from Bo’s Place on how to help a grieving child…
How to Help a Grieving Child
Let the child know you are willing to talk with them about their loved one who has died. Allow the child to take the lead.
Most children don’t want you to fix what hurts. (Thank goodness, because death can’t be fixed.) They just need you to listen.
Encourage the child to share stories and memories of their loved one. Ask questions.
Allow the child to express thoughts and feelings related to the death of their loved one – whatever these may be!
Affirm the child’s feelings by letting them know you “get it!” Tell them their feelings make sense when someone we love dies.
Take time to play with them. Children will move in and out of their grief. In between times they just want to be children. Let the child know it’s all right to be happy.
Use the given name of the person who has dies. If possible, share your own memories of their loved one.
Talk honestly with the child about the death.
Invite the child to be a part of the family grief process. Children are never too young to grieve and share in the family experience of the loss.
It is not an adult’s responsibility to protect a child from the feelings of grief. It is however, gravely important for a loving adult to be fully present for that child in the midst of those difficult feelings.
Honor the unique timetable and expression of each child’s grief. Just as each of our relationships is unique and special, so too is the expression of grief resulting from the death of a loved one.
Remember grief is revisited throughout the lifespan of a child. Continue to support the child when grief resurfaces even after a long period of time.
Bo’s place was founded in 1990 as a nonprofit bereavement center offering grief support services for children, families and adults. Bo’s Place exists to enhance the lives of those who have experienced the death of a loved one.