Acute Responses to Loss
Assessing the Risk for Suicide
Holiday or Anyday Blues
Sudden, Accidental or Traumatic Death
September 11th Resources
Warning Signs & Symptoms
Complications of Grief
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
How to Help a Grieving Person
How to Help a Grieving Child
Ways of Coping
Poems & Quotes
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~ Helping Children Cope with Loss ~
Children are impacted by loss very differently
than adults. Their manifestations of grief can also be very different.
Some things to consider and suggestions for helping a child overcome loss:
Children are concrete in their thinking.
To lessen confusion, avoid expressions
such as “passed on” or “went to sleep.” Answer their questions about death
simply and honestly. Only offer details that they can absorb. Don’t overload
them with information.
Children are physical in their grief.
Watch their bodies, and understand and
support their play and actions as their “language” of grief. Offer reassurance.
Children can be fearful about death and the future.
Give them a chance to talk about their
fears and validate their feelings. Share happy memories about the person
who died. Offer a simple expression of sorrow and take time to listen.
Children need choices.
Whenever possible, offer choices in what
they do or don’t do to memorialize the deceased and ways to express their
feelings about the death. Help the child plant a tree or dedicate
a place in memory of the person who died.
Children grieve as part of a family.
Children grieve the person and the “changed”
behavior and environment of family and friends. Keep regular routines as
much as possible.
Children are repetitive in their grief.
Respond patiently to their uncertainty
and concerns. It can take a long time to recover from a loss. Expect their
grief to revisit in cycles throughout their childhood or adolescence. A
strong reminder, such as the anniversary of a death, may reawaken grief.
Make yourself available to talk.
National Mental Health Association.
Helping Children Cope With Loss. 2001. Available at: http://www.nmha.org/reassurance/childcoping.cfm.
Doka KJ, ed. Living with Grief:
Children, Adolescents, and Loss. Washington D.C.: Hospice Foundation of
a child cope with loss is perhaps one of the most important roles an adult
In effect, you are helping
that child develop skills that can last a lifetime.