• Discussing Grief | Martha Hunt Handler | Episode 131

  • Discussing griefThere are so many things we want our teenagers to learn, including good values and healthy living strategies. Open conversations can help with both of these. Popular media is a great spark for starting a conversation and gives our kids a safe space to talk about ideas. Martha Hunt Handler’s book Winter of the Wolf, published by our sponsor Green Leaf Book Group, provides opportunities to discuss grief, spirituality, and other important topics. Listen in as Martha and Sandy Fowler discuss grief, suicide, and other topics on the Mighty Parenting podcast. 


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    A Favorite Quote from the Show: 

    “Just because they aren’t expressing it doesn’t mean it’s not in their heart.”

    High Points From Our Conversation on Discussing Grief:

    discussing grief with our teenagersDeath is part of life. We are all going to die and we need to get more comfortable with people transitioning from life. Discussing grief death helps us get more comfortable and learn how to process grief.

    A funeral can be a time to grateful, a monumental gratitude session for all we learned from that soul.

    The more time that passes after people pass away, the less we talk about them. Celebrations like the Day of the Dead in Mexico can help us remember them, celebrate them and be close to them.

    When someone looses a loved one it’s important to reach out and simply let them know you’re there. Simply be with them, sit with them in their grief.

    Having the ability to talk about our loved ones after they’re gone can help us in our grief journey.

    Four of Martha’s children’s friends have overdosed recently. She is calling parents just saying, “I’m here and I’m thinking about you”. Often they tell her she’s the first person who has reached out.

    As parents, we feel like we want to fix it and stop the hurt for our children. Just being there for our kids but allowing them to process feelings and work through their pain is essential.

    People placed blame on her friend by asking her, “If he was so depressed, why didn’t you get him help?” 

    People who are struggling with depression get very good at hiding what they are feeling. They hide behind the mask they believe people want to see.

    We need to have great compassion for suicide loss survivors.

    It’s important to give our kids the message that it’s okay to be different.

    The main character, Bean, is a 15-year-old girl who works to solve the mystery of her brother’s death. It looks like a suicide but Bean doesn’t believe it was.

    Bean learns people have more feelings than she can see. Just because they aren’t expressing it doesn’t mean it’s not in their heart.

    We see Bean’s family process their grief in different ways. This can be a good launching pad for discussing grief with our kids.

    We need to discuss so many important topics—grief, judgement, spirituality—with our kids. We can use the book and the characters in it to open conversations. This gives us a great opportunity to learn more about our teens’ and twenty somethings’ thoughts on these important topics.

    Resources Mentioned in Show:

    Winter of the Wolf by Martha Hunt Handler

    Winter of the Wolf by Martha Hunt Handler





    Suicide Prevention hotline 800-273-TALK (8255)

    Suicide Prevention text line 741-741

    Our Guest Martha Hunt Handler:

    discussing grief in Winter of the WolfMartha Hunt Handler grew up in northern Illinois dreaming about wolves and has always understood that her role in this lifetime is to tell stories and be a voice for nature. She has been an environmental consultant, a magazinecolumnist, an actress, and a polar explorer, among other occupations. She has also driven across the country in an 18-wheeler and been a grand-prize winner of The Newlywed Gam

    Soon after she and her family relocated from Los Angeles to South Salem, New York, she began to hear wolves in her backyard. This was the start of her twenty-plus-year career as an advocate for wolves at the Wolf Conservation Center, where she currently serves as Board President.

    Our Sponsors:

    Green Leaf Book Group—publisher of Winter of the Wolf

    Save The Children – help a child get through the pandemic www.savethechildren.org/savekids

    The Great Courses Plus—Streaming courses to keep your family entertained, learning and growing. (30 day free trial at www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/mightyparenting)

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