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Signs of Grief in Children

When a loved one passes away, we all experience grief differently. Children in particular, process and display such emotions differently as compared to adults. Even if your child seems aloof, they may be trying to process their understanding of death in their own way.

How do children exhibit grief?

Younger children in particular may not understand the permanence of death, which is why they may not be able to express their grief like one would expect. If you are looking for tell-tale signs, here are a few –

  • Clinginess

A child who is grieving the death of a loved one may become extra clingy, especially with their parents and teachers. This child may ask for help to do things they once had no trouble doing on their own. Children are able to sense distress in their parents and guardians, which is why they may feel safe by becoming more attached to them.

  • Lack of concentration

A pre-school or school-age child may find it hard to focus on their academics or any of their normal activities. They may even showcase indecisiveness because their minds are not yet adjusted to the loss of a loved one.

  • Anxiety

Young children can become quite paranoid, especially once they realize that the deceased person will not be returning. These children will need constant reassurance that their loved ones will remain close to them.

  • Sleeping

The child may want to sleep with their parents more than often as they may be experiencing nightmares that come from their paranoid thoughts when they are awake.

  • Guilt

Sometimes children will feel like it was their actions or a simple ‘go away’ they said to a person that led them to their death. Children need to be told that they are not at all responsible for the incident, and constantly need to be reassured of the same.

Look out for other signs such as developmental regression, behavioral changes, and feelings of abandonment. Seek the help of a child specialist in order to guide your child to the path of recovery.


Thanks for reading,