How Can I Help My Child Cope With a Friend's Death?
My daughter recently had to cope with the death of a peer. Her classmate died
after a long battle with a serious illness. My daughter now becomes anxious every
night at bedtime. How can I help her? – Kira
The death of a friend or family member is difficult for anyone. How kids respond
depends greatly on their age, experiences, and personality. And when a peer dies,
kids may be afraid that something similar could happen to them.
Your child may be feeling depressed, angry, confused, anxious, or any number of
emotions. Be honest with her and encourage questions. This can be hard because you
may not have all the answers. But it's important to create an atmosphere of comfort
and openness, and to convey that there's no single "right" way to feel or grieve.
Your daughter might find it helpful to hear you express your feelings on her friend's
death. Give her the opportunity to express her feelings and recognize that her anxiety
and sadness are perfectly normal. You might also share any spiritual beliefs you have
about death with her.
If her reaction continues beyond a few weeks or negatively affects other aspects
of her life, consider seeking help from a mental health professional.