Supporting a child when someone dies

Children have a limited ability to put feelings, thoughts and memories into words and tend to “act out” with behaviours rather than express themselves verbally. They will gradually acquire the language of feelings by listening to words that you use. Showing your grief will encourage them to express theirs.

Children are naturally good at dipping in and out of their grief. They can be intensely sad one minute, then suddenly switch to playing happily the next. This apparent lack of sadness may lead adults to believe children are unaffected when really it is a safety mechanism that prevents them being overwhelmed by powerful feelings.

As a parent/carer or as an important figure in a child’s life you can watch out for any changes in their behaviour which could be their way of expressing feelings they can’t talk about. Clinginess, aggression, regression, lack of concentration and sleep problems are all natural reactions that will pass. However, if you have concerns take a look at how to access our counselling. 

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