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?
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.
Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: October 2012
|American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) AACAP offers up-to-date information on child and adolescent development and issues.|
|American Psychological Association (APA) The APA provides information and education about a variety of mental health issues for people of all ages.|
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|Dealing With Grief: Molly's Story In 2004, 13-year-old Molly and her sister Carly coped with their grandfather's death by starting a business to raise money for cancer research. Read Molly's story here.|
|Helping Your Child Deal With Death It can be difficult to know how to help kids cope with a death, particularly as you work through your own grief. Here are a few important things to consider.|
|When Somebody Dies It's difficult, even for grownups, to understand why death must happen. It may be the hardest thing of all to understand. We'll try to help you understand a little bit more in this article for kids.|
|Sweet Memories of a Grandfather: Carly's Story Carly found a sweet way to remember her grandfather, who died from cancer. Find out how in this article for kids.|
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|Death and Grief If someone close to you has died, you probably feel overwhelmed with grief. Read about some things that might help you cope.|
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