When a [child] suffers a loss, he/she grieves. The feelings of
grief are strong, painful, and difficult to sort out. The [grieving] model
presented in this manual identifies the following five stages:Denial. At first, the [child] doesn't want to believe the loss. He/she cannot
endure the pain. So he/she pretends it is not true, or that it doesn't really matter.
Guilt. Was there something that he/she could have done to prevent it? A child
always feels responsible for a loss that he/she experiences.
Anger. This stage usually follows guilt. The [child] questions
why the loss occurred, feels it is not fair, and seeks some other person to
hold accountable for the pain.
Sadness. When a [child] realizes that the loss has, indeed,
occurred and that the impact of the loss cannot be undone by guilt or anger,
there is an intense awareness of how much the lost person will be missed,
particularly during moments that had been shared and treasured (mealtimes, bed
time, holidays, etc.). This sadness is so overwhelming and the pain so acute
that it cannot be endured for long. Each [child] allows it to come and go by
retreating to one of the earlier stages.
Acceptance. This final stage may never be fully realized. Acceptance
of a significant loss is never total acceptance. Acceptance resembles denial
and a [child] starts through the process again or goes back to one of the
earlier stages. Any new loss, of course, generates a new round of feelings, and
pushes [the child] back towards denial.
Source: Substitute Care Providers:
Helping Abused and Neglected Children. The User Manual Series, U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children,
Youth and Families, National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect; pages 36-37