Grief is an emotional reaction to a major loss. The words "sorrow" and "heartache" often are used to describe feelings of grief. Your child may feel grief when he or she loses a beloved person, pet, place, or thing. It is also natural to feel grief when a valued way of life is lost, such as a home, a parent's job, or good health.
Your child may begin to grieve before a loss occurs. Your child may grieve for a loved one who is sick and dying. Children and adults often feel the pain of loss before a big move or divorce. This type of grief helps your child get ready for a loss.
Grief is different for each person. There is no "normal" or "expected" period of time for grieving. Some people adjust to their loss within a couple of months. Others may take 2 years or longer, especially if their lives were changed a lot or if the loss was sudden and shocking.
Grieving can cause problems such as headaches, loss of appetite, and trouble with thinking or sleeping. Your child may withdraw from friends and family and behave in ways that are unusual for him or her. Grief may cause your child to question beliefs and views about life.
Grief is natural and does not require medical treatment. It may help to talk with people who have been through or are going through similar losses. Your child may also want to talk to a counsellor about his or her feelings. Talking about the loss, sharing cares and concerns, and getting support from others are important parts of healthy grieving.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter A732 in the search box to learn more about "Grief (Actual/Anticipated) in Children: Care Instructions".
Current as of: April 3, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
© 2006-2017 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.