Grieving Support Tips | Highland Hospice

Grieving Support Tips

  • Unlike adults, children can jump in and out of their grief. It can be intense but can also pass quickly
  • Children tend to want to protect their parent or carer from their pain and upset. Encourage them to express their thoughts and feelings openly and don’t be afraid to show how you are feeling – this can help your child to know it is ok to feel that way, and that their own grief is acceptable
  • You cannot stop children from feeling sad, angry or anxious – but you can support them by listening and talking. Even if you don’t know what to say, it’s better to address the subject than ignore it
  • Every child grieves differently – there is no right or wrong way to feel. Children need time and permission to express feelings
  • Reassure your child that they are not to blame for what happened – their thoughts or things they said did not cause the death to occur
  • Involve your child in opportunities to say goodbye, share stories, or remember the person – give them choices about how to do this
  • It is very important to give them age appropriate information to help them understand what happened. Death can be frightening for young people who do not have the information to help them understand what is happening. It is always best to tell children the truth, at a level they understand
  • Children’s grief is not a one-off thing, but will affect them at different times in their life, particularly times of change. As children grow older it is quite normal that they will re-visit their loss and the associated feelings. This is not a sign that something is wrong, it is a healthy part of grieving
  • Allow your child to ask questions. Don’t worry if you think you’ve answered the question badly – it’s more important to the child that you’ve paid attention to them, Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland and Irish Childhood Bereavement Network

Grief Brief

Learn what children and young people tell us they need most while going through the grieving process.