Grief and loss are difficult for anyone, but in children the emotional pain associated with loss can be even more confusing, frightening, and difficult to manage.   It’s important for children to have a safe place to express their feelings when it comes to the grieving process.  As with adults, children can experience a range of emotions when they lose a loved one, including fear, sadness, guilt and anger. 

Children are not always able to talk about how they feel, and parents should help them choose an avenue of self-expression that is best suited to their own preferences and talents.  This might include drawing, writing, puppetry, music or physical activity.  It’s important to note that grief in children often presents itself differently than it does in adults.  If your child has recently experienced a loss, make sure you look for these signs that your child may need help in coping with their feelings:

  • Problems sleeping
  • Nightmares
  • Over-anxious or clingy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Physical illness 

Remember, prolonged changes in mood or behavior are signs to seek professional help.