Talking to your child about the death of someone close may be the hardest thing you have ever done or will do.
Children experience grief differently to adults. For adults, it feels like having to wade through rivers of grief and they may get stuck in the middle of a wide sea of grieving. For children, their grieving can seem more like leaping in and out of puddles. First reactions many range from great distress to seeming not to be interested. One minute, they may be sobbing, the next they are asking “what’s for tea? It does not mean they care any less about what has happened.
When children ask difficult questions, there is no automatic need to give a long explanation. It is often best to start by asking: “What do you think?” and then building on their answer.
Younger children may be confused by some of the everyday expressions that people use when someone dies, such as describing the person as ‘lost’, ‘gone’ or ‘passed away’. It is best to keep language simple and direct. Saying that someone has ‘died’ or is ‘dead’ is honest, helps to avoid confusion and encourages acceptance.
2 Wish Upon A Star is able to provide support in a number of ways for brothers and sisters (depending on their age). Please ask us about the services we can arrange.
Some points to remember