Myth #1: Children do not grieve, or only grieve when they reach a certain age.
Fact: Children grieve at any age. The way grief is expressed depends on the child’s age, development, and experience.
Myth #2: The death of a loved one is the only major loss children and adolescents experience.
Fact: The death of a pet, separations by divorce or moves, losses of friends or relationships, as well as losses due to illness or death can generate grief reactions.
Myth #3: It is better to shield children from loss. They are too young to experience tragedy.
Fact: Although we’d like to protect children from loss, it is impossible. Exclusion can increase fears and breed feelings of resentment and helplessness.
Myth #4: Children should not go to funerals or children should always go to funerals.
Fact: Children and adolescents should have the choice as to how they wish to participate in funeral rituals. They will need information, options, and support.
Myth #5: Children get over loss quickly.
Fact: Children, like adults, will learn to live with the loss and may revisit that loss at different points in their development.
Myth #6: Children are permanently scarred by early, significant loss.
Fact: Most people, including children, are resilient. While loss can affect development, solid support and strong continuity of care can help children as they learn to live with loss.
Myth #7: Talking with children and adolescents is the most effective approach in dealing with loss.
Fact: While there is much value in open communication with children and adolescents, there are approaches which allow creative ways of expression. Play, art, dance, music, activity, and ritual are examples of creative modes of expression they may use to express grief and adapt to loss.
Myth #8: Helping children and adolescents deal with loss is the responsibility of the family.
Fact: Families do have a critical responsibility in helping children and teens, but this responsibility is shared with other individuals and organizations such as Ryan’s Place, schools, and faith communities, as well as the community at large.