Grief or Unresolved Loss

Do you feel your child needs additional support adjusting to the loss of someone close to them?

 

Varied Reactions

Children’s reactions to the death of someone close to them vary according to their stage of development and differ from adults’ reactions.
 

Infants and Toddlers

Infants and toddlers are unable to understand an abstract concept such as death.  However, they are aware of the loss and separation from a loved one.  They may show signs of anxiety such as prolonged crying and clinginess.  Infants and toddlers are very attuned to the grief reactions of their caregivers and others around them.


Preschool Children

Preschool children often are confused by the concept of death.  They typically view death as temporary and reversible.  They may respond to the death of a loved one with increased separation anxiety, tantrums, nightmares or other sleep disturbance, and regressive behaviors.


 

School-Age Children

School-age children begin to understand death as permanent.  However, they may believe that death only happens to the sick or elderly. They may have difficulty believing that they and people they know will die one day.  School-age children may respond to the death of a loved one with anger, sadness, anxiety, and fear that others close to them might die soon as well.


Adolescents

Adolescents begin to view death similarly to adults, trying to understand and process the physical and emotional aspects of death.   However, adolescents may attempt to ignore their grief response so as not to stand out from their peer group.  In addition to sadness and anxiety, adolescents may respond to the death of a loved one with risk-taking, acting behaviors, or academic decline.


 

Our Approach

We help your child identify and process his or her understanding of a loss while improving the ability to regulate his or her emotions.