Chapter 2: Children’s grief
How children grieve
I read about kids’ grief and we also did some counselling with our paediatrician and our kids. She said that studies had shown that having something tangible was helpful to children. So I ordered a necklace for each kid with their sister's name on it.
In your family, each child’s response may also depend on what they thought or felt about having a new brother or sister. A child may not have thought about what a new baby would be like. Some children may not respond at all to a pregnancy or infant loss because their world has not changed very much. All of this is normal.
When children grieve, they do this differently than adults. Below are some of the key characteristics specific to children’s grief. Click on each of the phrases below to read more.
Children are more likely to express grief through actions and behaviours. The younger the child, the more difficult it will be for them to use words. You may also notice that a child regresses for a time, showing behaviours of a younger age.
Children often move back and forth between talking about a loss and playing, sometimes very quickly. This is a normal way that children cope. When children do talk, it is not likely to be a big “tell-all,” and their questions may not come when you expect them.
The reactions that you may see will depend on the child’s age and stage of development, their personality, and what they knew about the pregnancy, and will often take their cues from the adults around them. Like adults, each child has their own way of grieving. Children revisit their grief as they mature, which means that over time you may see their grief resurface.