Children and Teens Grief

When a Parent or Loved One Dies

As a child or adolescent attempts to cope with the death of a loved one, he or she can become overwhelmed by complex and confusing feelings. These feelings may be difficult for a child or teen to identify and understand. You may be hearing questions like these:

  • How will I grow up without my dad here to help me? Royalty Free Stock Photo
  • Why did my mom/grandpa die?
  • Can you promise me that you won’t die too?
  • What is going to happen to us now?
  • If dad is in heaven, can he see everything I do?
  • Do I need to give up my after-school activities to help out?

As a parent, you may have questions like these:

  • How does my grief impact my child or teen?
  • How do I know if my child/teen is grieving appropriately?
  • Will my child ever stop grieving?
  • How do I know when my child/teen needs help?
  • How do I talk to my child about grief?

While grief is a normal, healing emotion, experiencing it can be hard. Our oncology therapists, who are trained in grief and bereavement in children and teens, can help them explore their personal grief journey through various strategies, including art therapy, to make this experience more meaningful. We can also assist in talking with you as a parent or other adult in the child’s or teen’s life.

Contact us to help you sort through these questions and more, at no cost.

How We Can Help

Listen & Support your Child or Teen.

Individual or family bereavement counseling from skilled, caring oncology therapists can help your child or adolescent explore his or her unique grief journey, better understand the grief process, ease pain, and find meaning. Make an appointment.

Make an Appointment

Teach & Support You.

Grief in Children and Adolescents

This 15-minute webinar is designed for parents and caregivers of children and adolescents who have experienced a loss, whether that be their parent, grandparent, sibling, or other family member. Dr. Thompson shares typical emotional and behavioral reactions that are common among grieving children and signs that your child may need more support or intervention by a mental health professional.

Strategies to Support your Child’s Grief

This 15-minute webinar, a companion to “Grief in Children and Adolescents”, will be helpful for parents and caregivers of children and adolescents who are grieving the death of a loved one in their family. Dr. Thompson shares strategies for supporting children during their grieving process, including providing structure, routine, and reassurance, mobilizing social supports and encouraging continuing bonds with the loved one who has died.

Our oncology therapists can meet with you to assist you in understanding your child or teen’s behavior and their response to grief. We’ll discuss stages of grief, how your grief may impact your child, and strategies to help you support your child or teen. Life with Cancer also offers individual counseling and groups for adults who have lost a loved one to cancer. See Adult Grief.

What We Cover

We talk about the questions your child or teen may have about death or loss, explore the multitude of emotions he or she can experience, look at how life has changed, and discuss what life might look like in the future.

Options on how to talk to family and friends about their grief are discussed, as well as how to deal with special occasions. We offer ideas on how your child or teen might continue to remember his or her loved one.


If you are affected by cancer, we invite you to connect with us—whether you're a patient, family member, or friend.