(WYTV) – For this week’s Positive Parenting report, we’re talking about grief. We spoke with Julia Ellifritt, who works for Cornerstone of Hope as a grief specialist. She counseled the Lowellville area at a public meeting in response to two traumatic events in the community. Now, shares some of her advice on how to help kids cope with loss.

Ellifritt says there are four types of loss that we experience:

  1. Developmental, like weaning from a pacifier
  2. Items, like your car keys
  3. Hopes and dreams, like not getting into the college you’ve always wanted to go to
  4. Death — loss of a loved one is further broken down into traumatic and non-traumatic loss

“When there’s a suicide, a murder, an actual overdose — those kind of things we don’t expect to happen. Those can very often present a different type of struggle with the grief process,” Ellifritt said.

Ellifritt says it typically takes about two-and-a-half years after losing someone to get back to feeling normal. For trauma, it’s longer.

“You don’t get over people. You learn to live without them. The whole goal of grief is not, how do I get over it? You will never get over a person. The goal is, how do I live without them now?” Ellifritt said.

For parents struggling with grief alongside their children, she says not to be afraid to show your kids your emotions. Maintaining a routine can also help.

“You’re sad and grieving, so maybe dinner’s not getting on the table at the same time. So it’s kind of like this double whammy,” Ellifritt said.

But she warns that some kids might see this as an opportunity to get out of chores or homework.

“Kids can be very manipulative, not always like a really conscious thing, but parents have to become very good at discerning this, is my kid really having an issue right now or they just don’t want to go to bed?” Ellifritt said.

Ellifritt also recommends joining a support group or seeking counseling.