Children do grieve from a young age however their grief is usually different to that of adults. They are often less direct in their expression of grief and may not appear overly sad. Sometimes children can become more demanding or display more difficult behaviours when they are grieving. Some children experience more illness and stomach aches. Some may become more withdrawn.
If your child does not appear sad or concerned this is most likely because they don’t really understand what has happened and the permanency of the situation. Young children especially are not able to understand the full impact of loss due to their developmental level.
It is important not to underestimate the impact a loss has on a child and to understand that grief is a process that takes time. Like adults, children who are grieving will have good days and bad days.
If your child has experienced a significant loss provide them with reassurance and allow them time to discuss their feelings and ask questions.
Be honest with your child and keep them informed but take into account their age and developmental level.
Try to stick to your family’s routine as much as possible to ensure that your child feels secure.
Don’t always try to distract your child when they are feeling sad. Feelings of sadness are natural and it is important to show them healthy expressions of feelings and coping skills.
If after some time your child is struggling to cope and it is affecting them at school and home, it may be useful to seek professional counselling and support.