Death & Grief

How any child or young person grieves when someone they love has died will depend on many things. Bereaved children and teenagers will need ongoing attention, reassurance and support. For a parent, the death of a child is a deep grief experience that goes beyond words. The loss affects bereaved parents emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually and socially. This section provides information about grief, and the support available for you and your family, now and in the future. 

Statue of an angel with a lowered head

Parents understandably can feel overwhelmed with their own grief when a family member dies. It can be difficult to know how best to support children at this time. While each family has its own culture and traditions that may guide and comfort them following a death in the family, you can also check some of the main ways to support children who are grieving. 

It can be a frightening and confusing time for children when a family member dies. The restrictions due to COVID-19 make it more challenging to meet the needs of children, particularly when a family member dies from COVID-19 infection. Find out how you can create new opportunities to help your child in this process.

When a whānau member has died, even very young children (under 2 years) will need an explanation of what they are seeing around them, to help them start to understand what has happened. Talking to children helps them to trust you and helps them to make sense of what is happening in their world.

One of the best ways adults can help young grievers is to listen to their stories. Telling their story is a healing experience.

A child's reactions to grief can depend on many things, including their developmental stage. Bereaved children and teenagers will need ongoing attention, reassurance and support. Find out more about the common reactions to grief and ways to support children at different ages and strages.

Finding your way through the sadness and pain of the loss of a precious child is the toughest of tasks.

Bereaved children and young people may experience a wide range of ongoing grief reactions, as adults do, but their age and stage, personality and family situation will affect their experience and expression of it.

Facing the death of your own child is one of the toughest life experiences. Here is some information you may find helpful. Some of it may apply to your own situation, some of it may not.