Grief and Loss Resources
A Community of Support After Loss
Death is part of life, but no matter our age, it can be a struggle to deal with the loss of a loved one. It can be especially difficult for young children who are unable to comprehend what has happened or teenagers who are struggling with overwhelming feelings.
Caring adults, whether parents, teachers, counselors or friends, can help teens during this difficult time. If adults are open, honest and loving, experiencing the loss of someone loved can be a chance for young people to learn about both the joy and pain that comes from caring deeply for others.
Parents and guardians, you are the very best support system in meeting your child’s needs. You can provide the best explanation that fits with your values and beliefs. We encourage families to talk briefly following a loss of life and to acknowledge any feelings that may surface.
Children depend on adults. If we are unavailable for them, they have no one to turn to for help with their confusion, doubts, questions, and fears. Adults need to be able to comfort a child, even if it appears that the child is unaffected by death. Remember, it is more frightening for a child to be sent away than to stay and see a parent or other adult cry because of anguish. If you believe you are unable to comfort your child because of your own grief, find someone who can. Don’t try to deal with the grief of a child if you can’t deal with your own.
- Clear, understandable, and developmentally appropriate information
- Reassurance that they are safe
- The feeling of being involved and cared for
- Help in identifying and understanding the grief of others around them
- Acknowledgment of, and respect for, their own thoughts and feelings
- Continuation of usual interests and activities i.e. school, birthday parties, sports
What to Expect
During this period of sadness, you may notice a variety of reactions from your child. You may find your child unusually talkative or quiet. Your child may ask a lot of questions, be anxious, or may want to cling to you more than usual. These are all signals of the need for a little extra support. You may also notice no reaction from your child, and that is okay too. Children can experience a wide range of feelings and behaviors that are normal when dealing with this kind of tragedy.