Chapter 5: Supporting children and teens

Supports and strategies

I was reluctant to have Emma present at the death, but we prepared her for what to expect and talked with her about it after. She told us that it wasn’t scary, and that the main thing was that she wanted to be with us at the time. 

My son was angry that he wasn’t given the choice to be present. It took many conversations for him to understand that his grandpa thought it would be too hard on him.

Our platform includes a chapter on preparing for a medically assisted death that includes video clips by children’s grief specialists on how to talk with children about MAiD, support them in their grief, and navigate challenging situations. The content was developed by children’s grief specialists and families who’ve supported a grieving child.

It also provides guidance on:

What may help

Maintaining routines, limits, and expectations as much as possible will help your children feel safe and secure.   

Reassure them that even though you’re grieving, you’re still able to take care of them. 

Share with them the ways that help you calm and soothe yourself. This can be anything from talking to friends and family, digging in the garden, going for a run, or reading a good book.

Children may benefit from outside help and spending time with peers who are also grieving. This can take the form of:

  • Grief support groups
  • Bereavement camps
  • Counselling with someone who specializes in children's grief

    Ask the MAiD team, your local hospice, or a palliative care program about resources for grieving children in your area.

    Never hesitate to seek grief counselling for yourself. Helping yourself in your grief goes a long way toward helping your kids in theirs.