Losing someone or something we love and feel close to is extremely difficult and painful. Grief is our natural emotional response to this loss, and it is a process rather than an event.

Your child, as well as you and other family members, may be grieving because of:

  • the death of someone in the family, like a parent, grandparent or sibling
  • the death of a friend, or someone they knew at school
  • the death of someone by suicide
  • an illness, such as cancer or dementia, of someone they are close to
  • the loss of a relationship, like someone moving away or no longer being a regular part of their life
  • the loss or death of a pet

How do young people respond to loss?

Every child and young person will react to, feel and express loss differently, and this will change over time. There is no right or wrong way for a young person to grieve.

Children and young people who have gone through a significant loss can feel:

  • anxious or worried, including about their own health or the health of people close to them
  • frightened about losing other people they love
  • sad, low or withdrawn
  • isolated or lonely
  • angry or irritable
  • guilty
  • numb
  • physically unwell
  • unable to concentrate
  • unable to sleep
  • that their moods change quickly
  • that they cannot accept the situation
  • that they are struggling to cope

It’s helpful to remember that it is normal for your child to feel and experience these things after a loss, particularly if they have lost someone they were close to.


  • Young Minds has some really useful tips for supporting a young person in their bereavement

  • Winston’s Wish has a range of resources and reading suggestions to help young people to succeed

  • Sue Ryder is a charity with pages of useful and practical tips on managing the bereavement process

  • Cruse includes some reading for you to get through on how you can manage your own emotions in order to support your child

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