Following the text
you received from
the school today you may find
the following information
helpful at this time
to your child.
Remember there is no right or wrong way to react when someone you know dies. People will have many different reactions to what has happened.
* Your child may feel overwhelmed and even frightened by their feelings. This is normal, they are grieving
* They may not feel a strong reaction to what has happened. This is normal
* They may experience feelings of guilt, confusion, forgetfulness and anger. Again, these feelings are all normal
* They may feel angry at God, at everyone and everything. It is ok to express it
* They may never have an answer as to “why” but it is ok to keep asking “why” until they no longer need to ask or they are satisfied with partial answers
* Allow them to cry. This will help them heal.
* Healing takes time. Allow them the time they need to grieve
* Every person grieves differently and at a different pace
* This is the hardest thing they will ever do. Be patient and compassionate with them
* Encourage them to spend time with people who are willing to listen when they need to talk and who also understand their need to be silent
* Seek professional help from your doctor if you feel they are totally overwhelmed
* Allow them time to laugh with others and at themselves.
Ways to help your child during this difficult time
Children do not need to be taught how to grieve. They will do it naturally and in healthy ways if we allow them and if we provide a safe atmosphere, permission and example to do so.
* Listen carefully. Let them tell their story. Tell them that the reactions they are having are normal
* Pay extra attention, spend extra time with them, be more nurturing and comforting
* Reassure them that they are safe
* Don’t tell them that they are “lucky it wasn’t worse”. People are not consoled by such statements. Instead, tell them that you are sorry such an event has occurred, and you want to understand and help them
* Do not be surprised by changes in behaviour or personality. They will return to their usual selves in time
* Don’t take their anger or other feelings personally. Help them to understand the relationship between anger and trauma. Help them find safe ways to express their feelings e.g. by drawing, taking exercise, or talking
* Help them to understand that defiance, aggression and risk behaviour is a way to avoid feeling the pain, hurt and or fear they are feeling
* When going out, let them know where you are going and when you will be back
* If you are out for a long time, telephone and reassure them
* Tolerate regressive behaviour such as nail biting, thumb sucking, or the need for a night light
* Share your own experience of being frightened of something and getting through it
* If they are feeling guilt or shame, emphasise that they did not choose for this to happen and that they are not to blame. Even if they were angry with the person who died, or had been mean to them, this did not make it happen
* Work with the school support services and other available services
This information and the following downloads were provided to us by NEPs the National Educational Psychological Service