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A parent’s guide to supporting children with grief and loss

Updated: Jun 18, 2021

Losing someone we love can be extremely difficult and painful. Supporting your child through grief and loss is a difficult task, especially when you are grieving yourself.

Each child and young person will react to, feel and express loss differently and there is no right or wrong way for a young person to grieve. Your child may feel anxious, frightened, withdrawn, lonely, angry, irritable, relieved or even physically unwell. All of these feelings are normal for a person who has lost someone close to them.

How can I help my child?

Talking to your child about loss can be tough. It may be helpful to explain what’s happened to your child in an age-appropriate way using clear language. Words such as ‘died’ or ‘dead’ may be difficult to say and you might want to use softer expressions such as ‘gone to sleep’ or ‘passed on’. However, these expressions can be confusing for the child.

Reassure your child that it’s okay to feel however they feel and that there’s no right or wrong way to mourn. Console them and tell them that you love them. Remind them that they’re not alone and they can talk to you whenever they need to.

If your child finds it challenging to talk to you, it might help to start a conversation while doing an activity like one of the Magical Minds unicorns or dragons. Doing an activity can help to create a safe space for your child to open up and talk about how they are feeling.

Finding professional help

Sometimes a young person may struggle to cope with the loss of a loved one over a much longer period of time. If your child is suffering from long term grief, such as refusing to go to school, self-harming or experiencing suicidal thoughts, you should seek professional help.

Your child could be eligible to receive counselling. A therapist can provide emotional support and help your child to make sense of their feelings. Furthermore, your child should take advantage of emotional support services such as child helplines, text lines and online chat services, as they can really help too! It’s also important you speak to your child’s school as they can point you in the right direction for professional help and they should be aware of what your family may be going through.

At Magical Minds, we understand how difficult it can be to talk to your children after losing a loved one. Visit our website today to learn more about our products or click here to read more of our blogs.

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