How do Children Cope with Loss at Different Ages?

By: Matthew Funeral Home
Monday, March 5, 2018


Everyone handles the concept of death differently; especially children. At different ages, children may experience loss in different ways, as they develop a deeper understanding of death and they mature emotionally. At every level of childhood development, death can be a hard concept to grasp, so it is important to work with your child to help them through it. The most important thing is that no 2 people, not even twins, will process grief in the same way, so it helps to work with them as well as you can. It is important to let them talk out their emotions, and to let them ask questions. Whether it is a family member or a pet who has passed, a child will not always be able to fully comprehend all of their emotions.

Infants

Babies and infants will have little to no understanding of loss, but the unexpected changes in their routine due to the loss can make them irritable and cranky. The lack of attention they may experience during the mourning period may also make them act out.

Preschoolers

At this age, young children have a base understanding of death, but most of it comes from cartoons. Preschoolers often think of death as something reversible or temporary. It is important to be honest with them about the permanence of death. This is also the age that children will ask “why?” to everything. Be as open with your children about death as you feel is right, but let them ask questions. 

Elementary

For kids in elementary school, death is often felt as a more personified concept. They will often feel that the loss is  “not fair,” and may not fully grasp the circumstances surrounding their loved one’s passing. Denial and Anger are the biggest stages of grief for children at this age. 

Middle Schoolers

By this age, most children will understand the concept of death, and will either hope or assume that it will not occur for them until they are very old. They will often be engaged in learning the details of why someone died. While they will feel loss, children at this age are often intrigued by the details surrounding the death. They may ask to touch the body as well. At this age, children may begin to form their own beliefs and personal philosophies about life. The death of a close friend or relative may make them question their beliefs.

High Schoolers

Most adolescents will experience very strong emotions, especially about death. But, often, they do not have the experience of an adult to fully grasp the severity of it all. Some teenagers may experience a deep depression. Sometimes, a teenager may act out by “taunting” death. They may act recklessly when driving; or experiment with drugs and alcohol. Be stern with discipline in these cases, as it helps for an adolescent to experience some sort of structure when they feel like their whole world is changing. It is important that you help them to talk out their emotions. It may be helpful to provide them with a more safe or constructive way for them to release their pent up emotions. 
For almost 50 years, Matthew Funeral Home has been serving the Staten Island community. We can help with almost every aspect of your loved one’s memorial service. Our family is here to serve yours, every step of the way.

Leave a comment
Name*:
Email:
Comment*:
Please enter the numbers and letters you see in the image. Note that the case of the letters entered matters.

Comments

Please wait

Previous Posts

Oversized Caskets FAQ

Caskets are generally designed to fit a wide assortment of body types. However, some people may require an oversized casket. An oversized casket is used if an individual’s height, weight, or width ...

Flying With Cremated Remains

Traveling with cremated remains, or cremains can have its challenges. Whether you are moving to a new state or country or bringing your loved one home with you, it is important to understand the pr...

Processing Grief Through Reading for Children

Grief can be hard at any age, but for children and young teens, expressing and processing grief can be especially challenging. It is a very complex emotion, and some children may not be able to ful...

Searching for the Right Grief Counselor

The passing of a loved one can be incredibly painful. The grief of loss often seems unbearable. After the death of someone close, some extra guidance can be helpful. Grief counselors assist those w...

Valentine's Day Without Your Significant Other

Holidays can often be a trigger for grief after the loss of a spouse or long-term partner. Memories of holidays together can pop up from store displays, themed commercials, and more. With Valentine...

Celebrating the Passing of a Long Life

After a long life lived, losing an elderly loved one can be devastating. Your whole life, they have been there for you, and now they are gone. But after a long life lived, it is also an opportunity...

Metal or Wood Caskets

Choosing a casket is an important part of the funeral process. Many families choose the casket after their loved one has passed, but some people choose their casket ahead of time. This article will...

Common Misconceptions About Therapy

Many people have misconceptions about therapy. There is often a lot of fear and stigma around therapy. However, it is one of the best things you can do for your mental health. Your emotional and me...

New Years Resolutions for Older Individuals

With the new year comes a new time to set goals and resolutions. For many, resolutions can be hard to keep and are often passed up by February or March. Planning out realistic goals is an important...

Bank Accounts and The Death of a Loved One

When a death occurs in the family, there can be a lot of different things to juggle, including money. Bills, your mortgage, and all sorts of other important paperwork can be thrown into chaos other...