How do we discuss grief with our kids?
Today's guest, Mark Gregston, shares how we can support kids through experiences of grief.
Mark Gregston began his work with teens forty years ago when he was a youth minister and then an area director with Young Life. He and his wife Jan opened their home to work with those who were struggling through family crises, and in 1989, Mark and Jan moved with their two children, Adam and Melissa, to Hallsville, Texas. Here they started Heartlight, a residential counseling center for struggling teens and families in crisis.
Mark explains the importance of validating the sorrow of loss and allowing kids the time to grieve. We discuss the need to lament each loss and how grief shows how much we value life. Gregston notes the need for kids to acknowledge how much the person or pet meant to them. We discuss the vital need for a child to feel heard and to experience compassion.
Mark emphasizes the need to allow kids to talk through their feelings without feeling rushed. We explore the harm caused by those who rush us past grief and urge us to move on too quickly. Instead of robbing us of the important period of lament by shoving us into feeling better immediately, supportive friends and family should choose a more loving response and prove willing to endure our sorrow with us. We note how love is proven by our willingness to be in the uncomfortable space of pain with our family and neighbors.
Mark Gregston's book, Where's Stitch, creates discussion points using the framework of story to invite kids to explore conversations about grief. He highlights the need to acknowledge we don't have all the answers. Gregston also encourages parents and supportive loved ones to remain silent or simply assure the bereaved of their presence instead of trite responses, advice, or food.
Get your copy of Where's Stitch at https://wheresstitchbook.com/ Connect with Mark Gregston's ministries at https://www.heartlightministries.org/ and https://parentingtodaysteens.org/
Access the Unlovely Truth's free report at https://www.theunlovelytruthtribe.com/uttylk22r3e?affiliate_id=3727901