Helping young people with grief using mindful tools
A personal experience
I was moved to create this to support young people as they go through loss. I could see (and feel) how strong the energy of mourning was for hundreds of people after Queen Elizabeth II’s recent passing.
This encounter triggers intense and surprising emotions in many people that we believed we had learned to control or deal with in the past.
However, as I viewed the parade in Scotland, I saw a family who had lost a much-loved member, and their faces were etched with anguish.
How children experience grief
It has been quite difficult for our young people. moments of extreme dread and pandemics. The departure of the Queen has now prompted a highly public display of grief in all of its forms.
With a few thoughtful techniques that will aid you and your family, we can assist them in navigating this. In order to process what we are all going through, both young and old, it can be good to apply our mindfulness skills as discussing grief is difficult.
“The joy of love and the pain of sadness are both essential components of life; they may even be the price we pay for commitment and love.” Ignoring this reality or acting as though it doesn’t exist is the equivalent of putting on emotional blinders, leaving us unprepared for the losses that will unavoidably come in our own lives as well as for how to support others as they deal with losses in theirs.
This phrase, which is actually an abbreviation of one ascribed to the late Queen, was actually written by Dr. Colin Murray Parkes, a British psychiatrist and pioneer in the profession who helps us understand why we feel the way we do.
This is a skill that we teach in our teaching program, but we can start putting it into practice with our families right away.
It is the capacity to pay close attention to our children.
Children often have their sentences finished by adults. We see them having trouble speaking, therefore we are compelled to help them.
It is acceptable to do this throughout the course of a child’s normal development, but in these sensitive situations, you should also reassure them that “not knowing” is acceptable. By doing this, you are effectively acknowledging a crucial life lesson about mourning.
We encourage children to express their thoughts and feelings. We neither pass judgment nor offer any suggestions. We simply sit back and listen intently, letting our breath go in and out and (if any emotions arise for us) allowing ourselves to experience, accept, and breathe them in.
This creates a safe space for children to share.
Conscious speech is a component of communication. We express what is on our hearts there. We could be perplexed, hurt, or angry. Perhaps it brings back repressed memories of past grief. This information is essential to how your child may experience loss. We can reassure them that everything that an adult (a human being) experiences during a time of mourning is normal. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.
Honesty is also a possibility when speaking with awareness. Giving children straightforward, sincere, and passionate responses will educate them on how to do this when communication is necessary.
They can practice attentive listening as you speak mindfully.
Facing our feelings
When we are harmed, we want to flee and ignore what we are seeing. But by rejecting what we feel, it really gains more vigor.
Even if we make an effort to divert our attention to busy work, it’s like giving the emotions we want to ignore more vitality.
In order to turn toward our feelings, We have the ability to both name them and give ourselves permission to feel it. This is a really profound practice, but it is also therapeutic.
Young people can learn how to do this from us. By providing them with a list of feelings, you can assist them to express and shed some light on their perplexing situation. It will contribute to some global clarity for them.
It can be a potent act of self-compassion and self-love if we support them in recognizing these sensations and honoring each one with an “I am feeling xxx, and I allow myself to experience this.” It can help the love (behind the pain) shine through by calming the body, mind, and emotions.
As a physical representation of this acceptance, placing the hand over the heart can also assist to reduce the tension that we, as well as our family, are experiencing right now.
If you want to read more meditation information, the links below here belong to you:
Deeply Breathing: How it reduces your stress
Mindfulness Meditation: What you should know
Meditation For Kids: The best age to start meditating