With additional support, some specific resources to help them cope and family members, friends and teachers looking out for them, most children can cope with their grief and adapt as things change.
Play therapist Rhoda Ferguson shares with us how valuable play therapy can be for bereaved siblings. Rhoda is one of twelve play therapists across Scotland that we have a contract with.”This is a vital service for children to access. The children are given a safe space to both explore and express their feelings and experiences away from friends and family who are also affected by their loss.The parents have lost their child, but the child has lost a sibling and also their parents emotionally to quite an extent. The parents can be physically present but emotionally they are consumed with their grief. The child in turn experiences even more grief and the ones who would usually be there for them, aren’t able at this time.
Everyone deals with grief differently and sometimes the child has a need to move on in life without the sibling. As parents can be at a very different stage, needing to remember their child daily, visit graves, mark birthdays, anniversaries etc. this can be very hard for the child.
Play therapy allows the child to rehearse the possibility of change and feel what emotions they need to without the judgement of parents or indeed hurting the parents. Children are very aware of the effect their own upset and needs have on family members and carry the responsibility of this.
A play therapist is able to meet a child with total acceptance, empathy and is non judgemental, allowing the child the freedom to be and do what they need to do to heal.
There is often a lot of pressure taken off a parent when they know the play therapist is meeting the emotional needs of their child, in turn helping the parent too.”
For more information about sibling support, please visit https://scottishcotdeathtrust.org/siblings/.