Sometimes children’s reactions can be especially severe. Common behaviors might grow in intensity or frequency, signaling a need for extra attention.
Nightmares or scary thoughts. These may be about death or about the way a parent died.
Avoidance. Your child may be unwilling to discuss death or the deceased person—even happy memories.
New difficulties. Trouble sleeping, poor concentration, excessive irritability, or new fears are common challenges.
Regression. Children may exhibit old behaviors such as thumb sucking, bedwetting, or clinginess.
Sometimes a long illness might give your family time to confront the possibility of death. At other times, the death of a loved one can come suddenly, as in the case of an accident or suicide.
If your loved one dies after a long illness:
If your loved one’s death is sudden:
If you have concerns about your child’s behavior, seek professional help. Seek immediate help if your child’s actions can cause injury.
When Families Grieve™ was developed by Sesame Workshop.