There is no right or wrong way to react to a loss and all individuals will react differently. Grief reactions among adolescents and children are influenced by their developmental level, personal characteristics, mental health, family and cultural influences, and previous exposure to crisis, death, and loss. However, some general trends exist that can help adults understand typical and atypical reactions bereaved children. Sadness, confusion, and anxiety, are among the most common grief responses and will likely occur for children of all ages.
Supporting Grieving Children
When adults are able to talk about the loss, express their feelings, and provide support for children, they are better able to develop healthy coping skills. Adults are encouraged to:
- Talk about the loss
- Ask questions to determine how the child understand the loss, and gauge their physical and emotional reaction
- Listen patiently. Remember each person is unique and will grieve in his or her own way
- Be prepared to discuss the loss repeatedly. Children should be encouraged to talk about, act out, or express through writing or art their feelings about it.
- Provide a model of healthy mourning by being open about when you are feeling sadness and grief
- Create a structure and routine for children so they experience predictability and stability
- Acknowledge that it will take time to mourn and that bereavement may occur over months or years
- Take advantage of counseling resources that are provided by the Lyndhurst Public Schools
Please feel free to reach out to your child’s School Counselor if you have any further questions or concerns that we can assist with.
Attachment: Common Reactions Associated With Childhood Bereavement4.pdf
Superintendent of Schools