The SUDC Foundation offers you support in helping your child cope with the death of his or her sibling at no cost to you. Contact us today and let us help. Our community of over 900 families worldwide is ready to support you in any way we can. For more information, view a list of our detailed services here.

 

When a child has died, the impact on any other children in the family can vary based on a number of factors, including temperament and developmental stage. The Dougy Center: The National Center for Grieving Children & Families has wonderful information on the developmental stages as it relates to the concept of death, grief response, and signs of distress. You can view these details here.

Here are some helpful guidelines when talking to children about the death of their sibling.

  • Be honest, open and clear. Whenever possible, adults should give children the accurate facts regarding the death of their sibling.
  • Do not avoid the topic when the child brings it up. Similar to other traumas, the adults around the child need to be available when the child wants to talk, but should avoid probing when the child does not want to.
  • Be prepared to discuss the same details again and again. Expect to hear things from the child that seem as if they didn’t “hear” you when you told them the first time.
  • Be available, nurturing, reassuring and predictable. All of these things make the child’s grief easier.
  • Understand that surviving children often feel guilty. The guilt children feel is related to false assumptions they may have about the event.
  • Take advantage of other resources. There are many well-trained professionals willing to help you and the child in your care with these problems. Take advantage of them whenever you can.

We also recommend reading this pamphlet provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:: Tips for Talking With and Helping Children and Youth Cope After a Disaster or Traumatic Event.

Families registered with the SUDC Foundation can access more information on children and grief in the private access area for registered families section of our website.