There is no denying that grief is a complex emotion, usually seen in response to significant loss and most often associated with death. It is important to bear in mind that grief can manifest itself differently in children and young people, than in adults.
Whilst grief can bring a number of emotions to the forefront such as sadness, guilt and anger, it is also recognised that it can bring about changes to a person's physical health too.
It is not uncommon for someone who is grieving to have sleep disturbances or to struggle to eat. They may also lack concentration and struggle to undertake what would normally be a simple task for them.
There are many things to consider when thinking about how a child or young person may respond to grief, as we know children and young people do not all act the same.
Their individual personalities, whether they've had previous experience of significant loss, their physical age, as well as where they are developmentally are all important factors to consider.
It is also important to remember that children or young people from the same family may present very differently too.
It is not unusual for children and young people to need different things from those around them in quick succession. They may feel the need for ‘normality’ one minute and enjoy playing or engaging in activities, and the next require thoughtful discussion and acknowledgement of their grieving situation.
For a number of children and young people, it's likely that they may feel that they are the only ones who have ever felt like this.
It is important for the adults around them to acknowledge that the way they are feeling is ok.
Teachers and support staff are well placed to support children and young people as they often know them extremely well.
You will find a myriad of information on grief within this section, including a number of theory-based articles. We invite you to look through these and decide which models work best for you and we do not advocate one model over another.