Coping with Bereaved Children and Adolescents during the Coronavirus Crisis
Children and youth are deeply influenced by their environments during this complex period. Their routines have been disrupted, new changes are instituted daily, and they are distanced from their school, friends, and neighborhood, Playgrounds, sports, and other afterschool activities are curtailed, and they are overwhelmed with uncertainty and fear over the virus, especially the fear that those close to them may become ill or die.
When the experience of loss is added to the mix, especially the loss of a loved one, loneliness can become overwhelming. Parents, or the remaining parent, must deal with their own pain and sorrow and are not always emotionally available for the children, or able to explain the loss to them.
Children and adolescents who recently suffered loss prior to the Coronavirus outbreak are still coping with their pain. When attention is directed inwards onto the bereaved family, children and adolescents are physically and emotionally isolated with their pain.
Children and adolescents are dependent, to a great degree, on the adults in their environment. They look to the adults to help them understand the concept and meaning of death, the circumstances, the finality, and the pain it causes. They may also continue searching for the deceased. Children and adolescents need to be guided and supported on how to
reorganize and continue to develop their own lives in light of the new reality. Empathetic supportive communication with friends and extended family will assist them in feeling acknowledged, their emotions validated, and allow them
to share their experience with others.
We are sure that as parents, you wish to support your children and teenagers through this difficult time and to better understand their needs. You may be anxious about related questions: How to talk to children about death? What kind of behavior is acceptable or appropriate for bereaved children at different ages? How can you help them?
In general, most children contain reservoirs of resilience and the ability to cope, over time, with loss. However, as with anyone who has suffered bereavement, they need the support system provided by family, friends, the community and school. As the significant adult figure, a parent’s role is important in helping the child adapt to loss with honesty, age-appropriate information, and guidance. This helps the child successfully navigate the mourning period and move toward developing their identity and a meaningful life.
We believe that our consultation service to you as parents can assist you to process your own emotions and questions while receiving the guidance to empower you to become a source of solid support for your children.
Our professional counselors are available (at no charge) to answer your questions and help you and your family through this challenging period.