KITES Charity UK: How do children cope with the death of a loved one? Part 1.

KITES at St. Joseph’s Hospice in the UK provides crucial play therapy services for children that have been affected by bereavement. They usually get involved after someone has died, but sometimes they will get involved beforehand when someone in the family has a life-threatening illness.

I found their website information particularly interesting and helpful, and I felt that I should share it with families out there:

1) Children’s responses to loss:

Children will often feel numbness, disbelief, guilt, panic, denial, despair and anger after the death of a family member. They might be in shock and denial right after receiving the bad news and wander around searching for their loved one if they have died.

Children may experience disturbed sleep, fear of the dark, bad dreams and bedwetting. They might regress to earlier stages of their development and start behaving in a more ‘childish’ way. They may feel angry and question why this thing has happened to them. They may question any professionals who may have been involved in the care of the person that is ill or has died.

Children may change their eating habits – they may eat more or less. They may become restless or withdrawn. They may become clingy and fear any separation from their carer.

Children may feel run down, tired or forgetful. They may catch more illnesses than usual.

Children of all ages, but particularly young children may ‘play out’ their feelings rather than talking about them.

Young children in particular may feel abandoned rather than sad.

End of Part 1