1.4 Helping children and young people with death

Children and young people grieve just as much as adults but they show it in different ways. They learn how to grieve by copying the responses of the adults around them, and rely on adults to provide them with what they need to support them in their grief.

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. Showing your grief will encourage them to express theirs. Their behaviour is your guide as to how they are and this is as true for a very young child as it is for a teenager.

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What helps grieving children and young people

Every child is unique and will cope with the death of someone important in their own way. There is no magic formula but we hope the information in the information sheets below will help you better understand what it is that grieving children need.