• Parents: How to respond to the passing of a child’s friend:

    • Acknowledge the situation
      • Modeling that it is okay to talk about the loss of a friend will allow your child to talk about their feelings honestly and without judgment.
      • Validate your child’s feelings; it’s okay to experience a range of emotions.
    • Observe how your child grieves
      • Your child may have decreased interests in some of their favorite hobbies or have trouble eating or sleeping.
      • Many times children express grief in short outbursts between periods of acting completely fine; these moments are the time to talk with them, when they are most open to discussing emotions.
    • Keep it age appropriate
      • Be conscious of the language you use.
      • Be honest, but avoid using graphic details.
      • Encourage them to ask questions and answer them honestly, but simply.
    • Help your child work through rumors
      • Rumors tend to spread rapidly.
      • Ask your child what they’ve heard and explain to them that while some rumors may be true, you don’t know the whole story.
      • Encourage them to refrain from making judgments or casting blame.
      • It’s okay to never fully understand, “why.”
    • Establish their go-to
      • Ask your child who they feel comfortable confiding in and make sure they are aware of the counseling resources available at their school.
    • Revisit the conversation
      • Coping with the loss of a friend is not something that happens quickly. Revisit the conversation periodically. This will remind your child that you are always there to love and support them as they navigate through the ups and downs.
    • Visit a specialist
      • No parent can feel prepared for the tragedy of having a child experience the loss of a friend. If your child seems to have difficulty with their daily functioning, seems isolated, aggressive, lacks interest in fun activities, has changed eating or sleeping patterns, or is overly focused on death, seek help right away.
      • Mobile Crisis Assessment Team – 315-732-6228