Grief Education
Children & Grief
Coping with Grief

Things Not to Do in Helping a Person through the Grieving Process


While there are many things you can do to help people through the pain of their grief, there are also things that don't help at all--and that could even be hurtful. Here are some thoughts on things it's best not to do.

  • Don't try to "fix" things, or make it all better for the person suffering the loss--no one can ever do that.

  • Don't use cliches, or tell people that time heals all wounds. The wound of loss will never really heal, but they will learn to live with the loss over time.

  • Don't compare one griever's loss or experience of grief to another's. Comparisons seem to minimize the loss or to force grievers to behave the "right way" instead of the way they are reacting--and this can retard the healing process.

  • Don't encourage grieving people to make major changes, such as moving, changing jobs, etc. Extreme grief clouds judgment, and the people may later regret their decision.
  • Don't attempt to cheer them up--just be there for them, and be as supportive as you can.

  • Don't scold, give advice, lecture, etc. Let the grief run its course--and remember that everyone heals at a different pace.

  • Don't suggest the person can replace the one they've lost ("You can have another baby," or "you'll find someone else"). This can be alienating and excruciating for grieving people to hear--it seems to minimize their loss, even though that's not your intent.


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