Teen Grieving

Grief is a complex and deeply personal experience, and this is no less true for children and teenagers who face the loss of someone close to them.

Navigating these emotions can be particularly challenging for young people, given their developing emotional intelligence and understanding of the world. As caregivers, educators, or friends, it’s crucial to support them through this journey with empathy, patience, and appropriate resources. This blog aims to offer insights into strategies for helping children and teenagers cope with loss, alongside age-appropriate resources and activities designed to aid their grieving process.

Grief in Children and Teens

Grief in young people can manifest differently than in adults. Children and teens may not have the vocabulary to express their feelings or fully understand the permanence of death. Their reactions can vary widely, from withdrawal and silence to anger and acting out. Recognising these signs of grief is the first step in providing support.

Strategies for Support

  1. Open Communication: Encourage open and honest discussions about death and loss, ensuring the child or teen feels safe to express their feelings. Use language that is appropriate for their age and development level, avoiding euphemisms that can confuse younger children.
  2. Maintain Routine: Stability can be comforting in times of turmoil. Maintaining a regular routine provides a sense of normalcy and security, helping children and teenagers feel grounded.
  3. Emotional Expression: Encourage the expression of grief through various outlets. Art, music, and writing can be powerful tools for children and teens to explore and express their feelings.
  4. Professional Support: Consider seeking support from professionals such as grief counsellors or child psychologists who specialize in bereavement support for young people. They can offer tailored strategies and support systems.

Age-Appropriate Resources and Activities

For Young Children (Ages 5-12):

Books on Grief: There are many children’s books that address the topic of loss and grief in a gentle and accessible manner. Titles such as “The Invisible String” by Patrice Karst and “I Miss You: A First Look at Death” by Pat Thomas can be comforting.

Memory Boxes: Creating a memory box filled with photos, mementos, or written notes related to the loved one can help children process their feelings and keep memories alive.

Art Therapy: Drawing, painting, or clay modelling can help children express emotions they might not yet have the words for.

For Teenagers (Ages 13-19):

Writing and Journaling:  Encouraging teens to write letters to the person they’ve lost or keep a journal of their thoughts and feelings can be a cathartic process.

Support Groups: Teen-focused grief support groups can be invaluable, allowing them to share their experiences with peers who understand what they’re going through.

Physical Activities: Physical activities like sports, hiking, or yoga can be powerful outlets for stress and emotions, promoting both physical and mental well-being.



Supporting a child or teenager through grief is about providing a safe space where their feelings are validated, and they are allowed to mourn in their own way and time. It’s about guiding them through their emotions, not rushing them to “get over” their loss. By offering age-appropriate resources and activities, we can help them find a path through their grief, ensuring they know they’re not alone in their journey.

Remember, each child and teenager is unique, and so too is their response to loss. What works for one may not work for another. The key is patience, understanding, and the willingness to explore various strategies and resources until you find what best meets their needs in their journey through grief.

We hope this article offers some help.