As parents and carers, we play a vital role in supporting and educating our children. We are the ones who are there at bedtime or when walking or driving to school and it's at these times that difficult questions asked by children about sad and emotionally challenging subjects can arise. So often we are ill prepared for their questions and our response, although well-meaning, can unintentionally cause more harm than good.
Why am I doing this?
Following the deaths of my baby daughter Lia, who was born with Infantile Polycystic Kidney Disease and a few years later, my young son Oliver after contracting Pneumonia, I experienced my own difficult journey whilst also witnessing the grief suffered by those around me, in particular my eldest son Tom.
Shortly after Oliver was born, Tom asked me "Will Oliver die, like Lia did?" My intentionally protective response came quickly. "No of course not", I replied. In that split moment, little did I know that I would set in motion what would become an emotional nightmare for Tom, because sadly and unexpectedly, Oliver did die.
Years of being unable to move on with our lives followed. My caring, safeguarding reply had a huge effect on Tom's mental health as a child and throughout his teenage years. The impact of which could have been avoided had I only known the right way to answer his question.
It was through a friend that I became aware of Grief Recovery UK and The Grief Recovery Method®. How Grief Recovery helped both my own and my son Tom's wellbeing was transformational and has driven me to pursue raising its profile and the benefits that it has to so many people's lives.
I am now a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist myself as I felt compelled to help others, with helping children in particular, a focus that I am extremely passionate about. Read more about my story in my 32 page booklet 'A Journey of Grief, Loss and Recovery' which you can download here. It would be wonderful if you are able to find the time to read and share it.
Helping Children With Loss
Loss is associated to the change in relationship to any familiar pattern of behaviour with the normal and natural reaction to loss being grief. In our society we are very good at teaching children how to acquire things but we do not provide them with the tools to deal with loss and there are over 40 loss events that a child may face that evoke feelings of grief including:
- Death of a close family member
- Death of a pet
- Separation or divorce of parents
- Death of a close friend
- Beginning or end of school
- Change in friendships
- Moving house / moving school
- End of a romantic relationship (teens)
- Personal injury or illness
- Change in health of a family member
- Gain of a new family member
- Change in social activities
- Change in eating habits
- Bullying (loss of trust, safety, identity)
- Social media (loss of trust, safety, identity)
- Exams (restricted curriculum choice, loss of identity)
How to process the emotional impact of loss and grief is key to long term mental and physical health and wellbeing.
I strongly believe that with key early intervention and prevention along with closer to home support we can help our children and young people lead healthier and happier lives.
'Helping Children With Loss' has been established for over 30 years and is integral within The Grief Recovery Method®. It is an evidence based programme that looks at dealing with some of the root causes of child mental health problems and can be delivered in just four, two-hour, weekly sessions.
My aim is to make the internationally recognised programme ‘Helping Children With Loss’ by Grief Recovery (UK) FREE OF CHARGE to parents and carers across Staffordshire (UK). This educational programme will give our communities the necessary tools, confidence and peace of mind when talking to children about sad and emotional events and will ensure their words will have the most positive effect on a child's thinking, happiness and wellbeing.
The skills developed over the 4 weeks are tools that are lifelong in impact.
What the funding will do
Throughout 2019/2020, with your support, we will take the internationally recognised, evidence based programme 'Helping Children With Loss' to parents and carers across Staffordshire (UK). We will:
- Run 36 training programmes, workshops and events to embed mental health and wellbeing and resilience in our children across our communities.
- Support voluntary organisations who work directly with children to train and prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of current and future generations (e.g. Guiding / Scouting Women's Aid / A Child Of Mine Charity etc)
- Deliver 'Helping Children With Loss' to benefit 540 families over a 12 month period.
- Provide all of the resources required and supply each family attending the programme with the best selling book 'When Children Grieve' by John W James & Russell Friedman (HarperCollins publishers).
Traditional Crowdfunder campaigns offer rewards that get bigger the more you donate, but I'd like to do something a bit different by recognising and valuing your generosity regardless of the depth of your pockets. A £5 donation from a student is worth as much as a £5,000 donation from a millionaire!
Everyone who donates will receive heartfelt thanks for believing in my project along with my 'Guide For Loss' Ebook, and acknowledgement on social media (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn). Plus, everyone will be entered into a draw for a chance to win one of the many rewards that have kindly been pledged especially for this project.
Offers of rewards are coming in all the time and I'm thrilled to be supported by so many local businesses. Just some of the rewards on offer are:
STOKE CITY MERCHANDISE - Stoke City Football Club
SLATER'S BREWERY TOUR - Slaters Ales
FLOTATION EXPERIENCE - Time To Float, Stafford
HAIRDRESSING VOUCHER - Francesco Group Eccleshall Hairdressing Salon
VINTAGE STYLE GLASS MEMORY JAR - Angel & Dove
CUSHY PAWS PET PORTRAIT - Cushy Paws
GIFT VOUCHER - Slater's Bar, Stafford
BESPOKE CANDLES - Beyond Candles
£10 VOUCHER x 2 - Stafford Party Shop
FELT MAKING COURSE - Barbara Simmons Felt Making
TRUCK LOAD OF HARDWOOD LOGS - CP Trees, Stafford
PHOTOSHOOT - Debbie Agostinelli - Photographer, Stafford
LARGE BOX OF CUPCAKES - Kelly Shrehorn (Cupcake Queen)
ITEM OF HANDCRAFTED JEWELLERY - ImpressMeForever
AFTERNOON TEA FOR TWO - Hearts & Flowers Cafe, Stafford
HAIR AND NAIL VOUCHERS - Hair Shop, Stafford
VOUCHER & MEMORY LOCKET - Dawn Wood, Inspirations Health & Beauty, Stafford
POTTERY VOUCHER - Amerton Farm Pottery, Stafford
FRESH PRODUCE BASKET - Brookfields Farm Shop, Newcastle-under-Lyme
REWARD - Greyfriars Butchers Stafford
REWARD - April Flowers, Stafford
REWARD - Totally Wicked, Stafford
REWARD - The Empty Box Company
ITEM FROM SPENCERS JEWELLERS - Spencers Jewellers, Eccleshall
VOUCHER - The Woolpack, Weston
VOUCHER - The Soup Kitchen, Stafford
More rewards will be added and the above list updated as soon as confirmed.
Thank you for taking the time to look at my project. I hope you are able to feel just how passionate I am about helping children and how much this initiative will benefit both them and their families. If you are able to get involved, promote or contribute, either with a financial pledge, an offer of a reward or most importantly, to let as many people know about the project as possible I would be incredibly grateful.
With your support, together, we can help our children and young people lead healthier and happier lives!
Contacts and more information
For more information about Helping Children With Loss, Grief Recovery UK and the Grief Recovery Method®, please visit my website www.jillframpton.co.uk
You can also find out more in my short video series 'A Journey of Grief Loss and Recovery' available to watch on my website here.
If you have any questions or would like to request a printed copy of my 'Grief, Loss and Recovery' booklet please call me on 07922 520595 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.