When a spouse or partner dies, the surviving parent is trying to navigate his or her own grief, while at the same time raise children and teens who are also grieving. Research has consistently shown that the better a surviving parent or caregiver is able to cope with the death, the better the child or teen will cope as well. The Children’s Room is dedicated to supporting parents/caregivers by providing an opportunity for them to acquire the parenting tools they need to help the children or teens grieve and so that all can better integrate the death into their lives over time. One of the ways this is done is through Parenting While Grieving: Supporting Children After the Death of a Parent. This eight-week series began in 2012 and has quickly developed into one of our core programs. Now offered twice a year in the fall and spring, the series is designed to help provide both education and support for parents or caregivers when a child’s parent has died. It is designed for parents and caregivers who want to better understand the impact of grief on their child or teen, and provides insight and practical strategies for handling the unique and difficult parenting challenges that inevitably arise as a child or teen grieves a parent who has died. During the series, parents and caregivers are able to learn essential parenting skills such as listening, setting limits, and communication. They are also able to hone these skills at home and share feedback at the next group. Being the parent or caregiver for a grieving child or teen who has had a parent die can feel challenging, like entering new territory for the whole family. “I really [...]
Participants were able to experience a TCR Family Night activity in an interactive presentation led by Laurie Moskowitz-Corrois and Colleen Shannon. In June, staff members from The Children’s Room (TCR) attended the 2016 National Alliance For Grieving Children Symposium in Indianapolis, Indiana. Held annually, this conference brings together professionals from across the United States and Canada who work in the field of grief support. TCR staff has been a regular contributor at this gathering, the largest of its kind in the country. At this year’s symposium, Associate Program Directors Laurie Moskowitz-Corrois and Colleen Shannon presented a workshop about TCR’s Family Night program, an expressive arts-based evening that offers grieving family members the opportunity to work together on a specific project. Through an interactive, activity-based learning and discussion session, Laurie and Colleen shared their expertise and their experience with incorporating expressive arts activities into the healing process of grieving families. “Our Family Night program allows us to support many families whose needs are best served through this monthly activity,” said TCR Executive Director Donna Smith Sharff. “At NAGC’s symposium, we were proud to have the opportunity to share this program’s success with helping families integrate loss into the life of their new family structure.” TCR staff received overwhelmingly positive feedback from their peers about the presentation. Conference-goers said that their communities could be better served with programming like TCR’s Family Night model, and there was significant interest in adopting similar programming at their own organizations. This and other conference experiences affirmed that The Children’s Room is a leader in its field.