How to Help Your Daughter Grieve the Death of a Friendship: Part II


In Part 1, I covered ways of being with a grieving girl when her friendship ends.  In Part II, I show you a sample conversation to help you guide your daughter or student through her grief.  I’ve included a simple technique you can use anytime to help kids put difficult times into perspective.

For the purpose of simplicity, we enter the following conversation with the understanding steps have previously been taken to save this relationship.

Girl:  Grace won’t be my friend anymore.  It’s over for good.

Adult:  It seems final.  What’s that like for you? (reflection and question to gauge perspective)

Girl:  I can’t stand it!  I’m not going back to school!  I don’t have any friends.

Adult:  Without Grace, there’s no one else. (reflection)

Girl:  No!  No one like Grace!

Adult:  There’s no one like Grace. (reflection)  I wonder if there’s someone else who might turn out to be a good friend.  (planting seed)

Girl:  I want Grace!  I don’t want anyone else.

Adult:  Grace is your only choice (reflection), yet she doesn’t want to be friends with you (presenting problem).  I wonder what you’ll do. (prompting thinking)

Girl:  I don’t know! 

Adult:  I think I can help. First, let’s figure out how big this problem is.                  

(Draw a 1 – 10 scale).




Let’s make #1 the best thing that could ever happen to you.  What would that be?

Girl:  (She will decide but may need your prompting or brainstorming)

Adult:  OK, so that’s your #1.  Now, what’s the worst thing that could happen?

Girl:  (She will decide but may need your prompting or brainstorming)

(A typical answer is the death of a loved one.  If the girl were to say, “Grace not being my friend,” counter with other examples.  You could say, “Is that worse than our house burning down, us moving away, ________ dying, a natural disaster ruining our city, or Mom/Dad losing her/his job?”  Choose an example you know would impact her.                              

Adult: Let’s make that your #10.  Now where does losing Grace land on the scale?

(From this point on, you will know the gravity the girl rates her loss.  Whether it’s high, low, or in the middle, there is now a point of reference.  I’ll now take the conversation two different ways.)

When the Number is High

Adult:  You chose #7.  Losing Grace is hitting you pretty hard and must be causing you a lot of stress.  With that amount of stress, we’ll have to figure out things you can do right away to help your body stay healthy and cope with it.  When your body feels better, you probably will be able to deal with the loss of Grace’s friendship more effectively.  Let’s start with ways you can help your body and mind feel better fast, and then we can talk about strategies to help you through the loss of Grace and toward finding other friends.

(Immediate stress relief can come through exercise, journaling, drawing or other artwork, parental TLC, baths or showers, doing favorite things, etc.  Being gentle with oneself at this time increases opportunities to rationally think about the situation and come up alternative friendship ideas)

When the Number is Low

Adult:  You chose #3.  Even though losing Grace seems and feels big, you’ve shown both of us that it’s not as big as you first had thought.  What’s that like for you?

Child:  It still hurts.

Adult:  I’m sure it does, but I’m glad it’s not a high number.  A #3 shows me that you have the strength to get through it.  I know you can do it.  Would you like my help?

Understanding grief and your child’s reaction to it, will help you guide her through difficult times.  Teaching kids to understand, acknowledge, and respect the feelings that come with grief, is one of the greatest gifts you can EVER give a child.  The skills are useful throughout life, for they increase problem solving skills, healthy attitudes, and good mental health.



© 2011 A Way Through, LLC


WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Female friendship experts Jane Balvanz and Blair Wagner publish A Way Through, LLC’s Guiding Girls ezine. If you’re ready to guide girls in grades K – 8 through painful friendships, get your FREE mini audio workshop and ongoing tips now at



  1. Susan Caldwell says:

    This is a wonderful teaching tool for a parent, teacher or lay counselor. The prompts for asking questions in a certain direction are very helpful.

    I appreciate this model because I work in an elementary school.

    Thank you so much.

  2. Jane Balvanz says:

    Thanks, Susan! I appreciate your kind words. Best wishes on a good school year! My school starts tomorrow.

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