Supporting children who are facing, or have experienced, the death of someone they love is emotional and challenging for most adults. Every day, more than 100 children are bereaved of a parent in the UK. It is widely recognised and promoted that children who are sensitively informed about the illness and death of their loved one, and who are encouraged and supported to talk about their feeling and emotions during the illness and in their bereavement are likely to cope with the loss better as they grow up.
However finding the words to talk to the children and being reassured that you are doing the ‘right thing’ is often very difficult.
There are now many quality websites with information and guidance that can support you with this challenging task. Some of the sites also have sections intended to be accessed directly by older children and teenagers:
http://childbereavementuk.org/ - information for adults, professionals and young people.
http://www.cruse.org.uk/children - information for adults, professionals and young people.
http://www.thedoveservice.org.uk/children-and-young-people/ - provides counselling support for children aged 4 and over.
http://www.barnardos.org.uk/youngcarersnorthwest.htm - support for young carers.
http://www.mcpcil.org.uk/service-innovation-and-improvement-division/publications.aspx - information leaflets on “Talking to children when someone is dying”, “Supporting toddlers and pre-school children”, and leaflets intended to be read by children when an important adult is dying.
http://www.macmillan.org.uk/information-and-support/coping/talking-about-cancer/talking-to-children/index.html - information on talking to children when someone has cancer.
http://www.winstonswish.org.uk/ - provides a helpline, direct support and has publications aimed at adults and children to support with children’s grief.