Grief & Loss in Children: Stages, Symptoms & Support in York, Manchester & online
What is Grief & Loss?
The experience of losing someone or something you love is painful part of life, and it can be especially difficult for children and young people. The emotion ‘grief’ is a natural response to loss, which may be new to them.
It doesn’t follow a timescale, so it is normal for the feelings of your child or young person to vary and change over time.
Grief is not experienced just due to the death of a loved one. Your child or teenager may also be grieving because of the loss of a relationship, friendship, or the diagnosis of a severe illness such as Cancer or Dementia.
You might have heard of the five stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Your child or teenager may go through all stages, or just some and they will take time learning to live with grief.
Symptoms of Grief & Loss
There is no correct or incorrect way to grieve, and every child or young person will deal with the process of grief differently.
Emotional symptoms can include feeling:
Physical symptoms can include:
Changes in appetite
Intense feelings may not be there all the time but can appear unexpectedly throughout the grieving process. Everything your child may feel is a normal reaction to a traumatic event and is all part of processing what has happened.
How to deal with Grief & Loss
It can be difficult to start a conversation with your child or teenager about loss, and they may not always want to talk. Older children or teenagers may want space instead, and this is okay! Simply being there with a hug or a shoulder to cry on, will show that you are there for them and they can open up to you when they are ready.
Listen to how they are feeling and make sure they feel validated and understood. Try to be non-judgemental so you can provide them with the emotional support they need. It is important they don’t blame themselves as this can be damaging.
Helping you child and teenager take care of their physical health is just as important and their emotions when dealing with grief. Establish a routine so they are getting enough sleep, eating well and exercising. Encouraging them to maintain their hobbies and interests might also be a good way to bring them joy and help them stay connected to others.
When to get help with Grief & Loss
Your child or teenager will be experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions after a loss, and over time they should be able to come to terms with it. However, if they are struggling to cope over a long period of time then it may be useful to seek professional help.
We understand seeking therapy can be daunting for both you and your child and that taking the first step can be hard. We have a team of professional and friendly child therapists who can work together with you and your child to design a bespoke and flexible treatment which works best for them. Our children’s therapy services are available for children and teenagers aged 5 to 17, at our clinics in York, Manchester and online.
Please get in touch using the form below to find out more about how we can help.