Grieving | Helping Our Kids Grieve Well

"Embrace your grief, for there your soul will grow."  Carl Jung

As you may know, the majority of my practice is made up of families and kids (of all ages).  Working with families was my catalyst for entering into this profession, has been one of the best parts of my job and brings a lot of life into my office.  I believe I’ve invested quite a lot of time and energy into understanding kids and teens, and learning how to help families feel more connected.


So when the quarantine hit, I felt fairly confident that I could anticipate what would cause kids and teens the most distress during this time.  Surely they would absolutely love being out of school and would feel a lot of anxiety around this mysterious virus and would think about all the fun things they could do while being at home.


And (for the most part), I was wrong.


What I have come to see and hear over the last several weeks is this:  kids and teens are grieving too.


Grieving not being able to go to school and see those best friends and that favorite teacher.


Grieving prom being cancelled and graduation going online.


Grieving the loss of life being “normal” and the world feeling “safe.”


Grieving the disappointment of a certain school year ending so differently than anticipated.


Grieving time at home with parents who have to work long hours.


Grieving time at home with a family that lives together but feels so disconnected, and having to face that day after day.


Grieving a special birthday party that turned into a drive-by.


Grieving the friends you can only see with a screen.



While grief for kids and teens may not necessarily be about unemployment or political tension or existential distress, their grief is just as real and valid. 


So how do we help?


I believe one of the best ways to support a child/teen in grief is to acknowledge and validate its presence, and then ask what s/he may need.


“I know you miss your friends so much.  It feels pretty awful.  Is there anything we can do to help that feel better?”


“I can’t believe your senior prom isn’t going to happen.  I know you were so looking forward to that and it breaks your heart.  Ugh.  Want to do something else that night?”


“I hear you, playing with your friends on Zoom is not as fun as when they come over.  What’s the first game you want to play with them as soon as you can go to their house?”


I know we want to protect kids and teens from grief, and sitting with them in it is one of the best ways to help them weather the storm.


 With you and for you,


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Come on in- how can I help?

Some different options about where we can start

Couple's Therapy


Learning why we feel disconnected, and creating new ways of being with each other

Individual Therapy


Discovering and developing what it's like to have a relationship with yourself

Family Therapy


Finding out why we don't get along, and figuring out how we can be a family 

Play Therapy


Helping kids use play to feel safe and strong, especially when bad things happen

sit and stay a while

Some thoughts I share on "Rooted + Grounded"



The New Normal | Do I Want to Go Back?


 "Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself." - Rumi

in the neighborhood

Some helpful resources in the nearby and virtual community

  National Child Traumatic

Stress Network

Talking with Kids + Teens When Scary

Things Happen


These resources offer guidance on talking with children and youth when scary things happen. This fact sheet includes information on checking in with yourself, clarifying your goal, providing information, reflecting, asking helpful questions, going slow, labeling emotions, validating, and reducing media exposure. 


Alair Olson, M.A.

 Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT#86504)

858.634.0302 |