Supporting Youth in Grief

Supporting Youth in Grief

The death of a student/teacher may affect a child in a variety of ways depending on the age of a child, how well the child knew (the one who died) and the child's prior experience with grief.
 
Counselors, teachers and other support personnel have been and will continue to be available to students on an ongoing basis. As parents, you may want to talk to your child, too.

When reacting to a death, a child may:
  • appear not to be affected
  • ask a lot of questions
  • be agitated and angry
  • try extra hard to be good
  • be thinking about it privately
  • be frightened
  • be sad and withdrawn

Suggestions as you listen to your child during this time:
  • If he/she seems to need to talk, answer his/her questions simply, honestly and possibly over and over again.
  • If possible, let the child become involved by visiting, taking flowers or sending a card.
  • Discuss death with your child and explain what to expect at a funeral or memorial service.
  • Encourage the child to discuss his innermost ideas, fears and feelings.
  • Do not close the door to doubt, questioning and difference of opinion. The child's efforts to find meaning in a time of acute stress must be supported.
  • Be open with your own feelings.
  • Continue the structure of the daily schedule as much as possible.
  • Don't imply the situation is temporary. (He/she is gone away or sleeping.)
  • Be sure to seek help if the process overwhelms you.