Grieving Children and Teens

Losing someone you love is painful at any age, but it can be more confusing and overwhelming for children and teens. Normal behaviors for children who are grieving may include nightmares, fears, anger, regression or pretending a death didn’t happen. This is a time when children need adults to pay attention and listen. You may wonder what’s the best thing to say to a young person after a death. Often, the best thing to do is to listen and let a child or teenager tell you about the experience.

Supporting a child or teen who is grieving can be a daunting task for parents or guardians. You are also likely grieving the loss of the person. Hospicare can help you learn how to support your child, even while processing your own grief. A few things to consider when supporting a grieving child or teen are “The Seven Rs” of regression, routines, responsibilities, revisit, remembering, rituals and resilience.

Our Good Grief Program

We provide special opportunities for bereaved children, teens and their families/caregivers that combine education and fun as a model for healthy grief. Past events have included a puppeteer, storytellers, gardening programs and pottery making. We also offer educational resources to school professionals, and we are available for students who have experienced the loss of a loved one.

We offer

  • Consultation for parents or guardians of grieving children to help them learn how to support their child or teen
  • Groups and events throughout the year for bereaved families
  • Referrals to local counselors or therapists
  • Information and resources
  • Training for schools, agencies and professionals

We strive to create fun programming that reflects our values

  • Death is a natural part of life, and grief is a normal response to loss
  • Grief is not a problem to be solved but a process to be experienced
  • There is no timetable for grief
  • Everyone grieves in their own way
  • Young people grieve in a family system

The Good Grief Program is designed to

  • Offer fun programming that models healthy grieving
  • Provide a place to speak explicitly about death and grief
  • Allow children to experience community with others who have lost a loved one
  • Educate about the process of grief
  • Offer tools for families to use on their own throughout the grieving process

Find out about our upcoming events for children and teens on our calendar.


Books for Children: Our bright orange library cart in the Ithaca office is filled with picture books for children to help explain death, dying and grief in meaningful and age-appropriate ways.

The Dougy Center for Grieving Children and Families provides activities and information geared toward children, teens and adults.

The National Alliance for Grieving Children promotes awareness of the needs of children and teens grieving a death, and provides education and resources for those who want to support them.

KIDSAID is a safe place for kids to share and to help each other deal with grief about any of their losses. It’s a place to share and deal with feelings, to show artwork and stories, to talk about pets, to meet with one’s peers. There are even some games and contests. KIDSAID is owned and run by GriefNet.

This article includes some helpful tips for grieving children, and links to other online resources that you may find helpful.

For more information contact Donna George, LMSW, FT, at via email or 607.272.0212.