Grief Education
Children & Grief
Coping with Grief

Infants through Adolescents--How Children of Different Ages Cope with Grief


from It's Okay to Cry Guide through Grief
by Yvonne Butler Clark

The cognitive and emotional levels of development from infant through adolescent cover a wide span of grief. The age of a child/adolescent and a child's/adolescent's perception of death must be understood before the caregiver or facilitator starts interacting with the child.

A grieving child at each different level of development will need assistance in building coping skills and finding a sense of closure to his/her loss. Children at all developmental stages experience grief on different chronological and emotional levels.

Infants and Toddlers and Grief
Children younger than four can sense that something is wrong as they experience the grief of their primary caretaker. The absence of the mother may cause a clear biological reaction. (full article)


  Four-to Six-Year-Olds and Grief Bereaved children between four to six have a limited and literal understanding of death. For a child in this age range, death may be explained in physical terms. (full article)

Seven-to Eleven-Year-Olds and Grief
Children ages seven to eleven are still primarily oriented to the family, and although they've begun to relate to and gain self-identity from their peers, play is still a mode of self-expression. (full article)


  Adolescents 12-17 and Grief
To the emotionally healthy adolescent, death is foreign; it's something they simply do not want to think about. Sometimes self-destructive behavior says "I'm not afraid of death." (full article)


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