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Supporting Children and Teens after a Murder or Violent Death

Explaining murder to children and teens can feel overwhelming. Here are some tips to help you talk with and support grieving children and teens after a violent death.

How do I tell my child or teen? It’s a question we hear a lot. Start with a short, simple explanation of what happened in language children can understand. Let their questions guide what else to share. You do not have to describe in detail what happened (unless they ask, and then you should answer honestly). You might say, “Mommy died. She was stabbed and she died.” Avoid euphemisms such as passed away, went to sleep, crossed over, or lost, as they can confuse children. Even though these discussions can be hard to have, being honest and open is an important first step in helping grieving children. It minimizes the confusion that comes from misinformation, and also keeps children from using their limited energy and inner resources to figure out what happened.

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Tips for Supporting Grieving Teens

If you know a teen who has experienced a death, you might be wondering, “How can I help?” Here are a some tips to keep in mind. In general, if you find yourself unsure of what to do or say, remember to take your cues from the teen. It’s likely that they know, or will be able to figure out, what they need. Your willingness to listen to their concerns and questions, as well as be present with their thoughts and feelings, creates a foundation of safety, trust, and support.

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Suicide Resources

After a Suicide Death: Ten Tips for Helping Children and Teens
If you know a child or teen who has had someone in their life die of suicide, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and confused about how to best support them.

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Tips for Supporting Grieving Children

If you know a child who has experienced a death, you might be wondering, “How can I help?” Here are a few basic principles to keep in mind.

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