Everyone is affected when a death or tragedy occurs within their family or school community. If you have come to this page, it is likely that you are experiencing such a loss. Our hearts go out to you and to our community. Please know that there is no right or wrong way to deal with grief and loss. Our hope is that the resources we have produced and gathered on this page will provide some support and guidance to help you find the process that works for you and for your child. It will take time to heal. It will also take support from others. Know that you are not alone in your grief, and that resources and help are available to you.
Families Connected Resources
Families Connected videos to help youth cope with grief
Insight for our South Bay community from Leah Niehaus, LCSW
Helping our children with grief and loss: tips for parents from Bill Dyment, PhD
For parents to keep in mind when their child is suffering loss
First and foremost, it is good for kids to express whatever emotions they are feeling.
Kids and young adults may react to grief very differently than adults and their process might not be what you would expect.
It is important to talk with your child directly about the loss. There are outstanding resources in the section below to help you guide those conversations in an age appropriate way.
In addition to talking, activities can really help a grieving child express and process their feelings. There are many age appropriate activities to choose from in the resources featured below.
Do not ignore your own grief. Self care is so important when your family is grieving. Find good sources of support. Research shows us that how well a child does after a death is linked to how well the adults in his life are doing. Be prepared to accept help from friends, relatives and possibly mental health professionals.
Your children’s school will have resources and support for your child. Please check with your counseling department.
Recommended Families Connected blog
Helping Children Through Grief: What is normal? When does a child need extra help?, by Dr. Billy Dyment
Related Resources on the Families Connected Website
Curated National Resources
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How to talk with your kids about loss in age appropriate ways
This is an outstanding guide available online and a downloadable pdf from Child Mind Institute that provides insight into helping children cope with grief, including what to say and how to say it, advice for a traumatic death, and what to expect from kids ages 2-4, 4-7, 7-13, and 13-18. We also recommend their blog, Helping Children Deal with Grief.
Produced in partnership with Sesame Street, this PBS resource page entitled, When Families Grieve provides parent tips for sharing and talking, finding comfort, and moving forward. This resource does trend younger. On this page you will also find printable tools and a link to a a resource page.
Information and tools
How to Help a Grieving Teen
What is it like for teenagers when someone close to them dies? How do they respond to the death of a parent, a sibling, a relative, a friend? (The Dougy Center)
Talking with Children About Tragic Events
What do we tell our children? How do we reassure them of their own safety? (The Dougy Center)
How to Help a Grieving Child
Kids learn by asking questions. When they ask questions about a death, it’s usually a sign that they’re curious about something they don’t understand. As an adult, a couple of the most important things you can do for children is to let them know that all questions are okay to ask, and to answer questions truthfully. (The Dougy Center)
Teens' Natural Grief Responses
Click here to read about these NATURAL and NORMAL grief responses that many teens experience. (Our House)
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, by Atul Gawande
Healing After Loss, Daily Meditations for Working through Grief, by Martha W. Hickman
It’s Ok That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand, by Megan Devine