Coping with bereavement

By MICHELLE SCOTT

It is a sad fact of life that at some point we all have to deal with the death of a friend, neighbour or loved one.

Coping with bereavement as an adult is a very traumatic and bewildering time but for a child coping with bereavement the emotional struggle can be even harder.

There are many helpful charities who you can turn to for support:

Charities supporting child bereavement:

Charities supporting adult bereavement:

There are many charities who can assist – a well-respected nationwide one is Cruse Bereavement Care.

Many of the adult bereavement charities are specific to the relationship with the person who died:

Some useful thoughts & resources

Winston’s Wish has a very helpful charter which is based on their conversations with thousands of children and their families following bereavement.

Simon Says – “ The death of someone important can have a devastating effect on a child or young person, however with appropriate support and information, children and young people can be helped to understand what has happened and can be helped to rebuild their lives.

Child Bereavement Charity – “Children need information and explanations that are honest, simple and in language they understand”. “Explain truthfully what has happened in words they can understand”. This charity recommends the use of real words such as “dead” and “died” as many young children can become confused if death is referred to as someone having “gone to sleep”.

Books

There are a great number of books that can be read to children to help them come to terms with their loss. Winston’s Wish has a detailed reading list broken down into books appropriate for children’s ages.

These are some of the books from the reading list for younger children:

Always and Forever – Alan Durrant

I Miss You: A First look at Death– Pat Thomas

Muddles, Puddle and Sunshine – Winston’s Wish

The Heart and the Bottle – Oliver Jeffers

The Huge Bag of Worries – Virginia Ironside

Water Bugs and Dragonflies – Doris Stickney

Michael Rosen’s Sad Book – Michael Rosen

Practical ideas to help children store memories

There are also many practical things that parents can do to assist children to store their memories of their special person-these are just a few examples:

  • Making a memory box
  • Sand sculpture jar of memories
  • Making a life book

“Bereavement is a land without a map”  

Christine Pentland (2002)

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