Children's Grief Awareness week runs from the 17th until the 23rd November and is aimed to help, support and educate bereaved children and young people in the UK.
I have had many years of working with and supporting children and their families in bereavement, grief and loss. Grief in children and young adults can present in many different ways. This could be presented in sadness, anger, anxiety, loss of concentration, feelings that things do not matter like they used to, or withdrawing from friends and family. Some children and teenagers are more open with their feelings, while others are more reserved. For many children, expressing big feelings can be challenging, they may not understand their emotions which in turn can find them struggling to find the right words. My role is to try and teach them different skills and coping strategies that may be able to help them in the future.
It is important for children and young people to talk about their grief. For many adults there is always that worry about not knowing what to say or the fear of upsetting the child. Having conversations about the person who has died can help the child to acknowledge that they are not alone in their thoughts and that they don't have to hide about how they are feeling.
A website which I have found really useful is www.griefencounter.org.uk. It supports children and their families in grief and loss. It has many different resources, one of the great things about this website is that children share their own stories about their grief which can be invaluable to another child or young person.
Remember there is no rule book in how grief should or could be managed. Nobody is ever going to make it better or go away, but it can be understood, which in turn will make a massive difference to a child's life.