Supporting children and young people to grieve

Children and young people all experience grief differently. This can be affected by their age, personality, family situation, previous experiences and their relationship with the person who died.

Children and young people may often seem unconcerned, playing or doing their usual activities, so adults assume they are not properly aware of the death, or affected by it.

However, this isn’t necessarily true, as children and young people deal with grief in their own way. Coping with grief is an ongoing process, which can show up in different ways at different times.

Children and young people tend to grieve in bursts, and at other times look for reassurance and comfort in their normal routines and activities. They may also experience bad feelings and/or suicidal thoughts themselves.

This means that bereaved children and young people need ongoing attention, reassurance and support. It is not unusual for grief to resurface later on, even well after the death. This can happen as they move through different life milestones, and develop as individuals. It may help to find a counsellor or other support person they can talk to.