Jana talks with Rebecca Hobbs-Lawrence, a staff member at The Dougy Center, about ways to support children who experience the death of a brother or sister. The loss of a child shatters assumptions parents hold regarding their role as protector and their beliefs about the natural order of children outliving their parents. A child’s death can cause tremendous upheaval in families as a parent’s overwhelming grief pulls them away from their surviving children, often leaving siblings alone to deal with their own grief. Children and teen siblings grieve a unique relationship, one of friend and foe, a companion that will travel alongside in life’s adventures. After a sibling death, children and teens may question their own importance, wondering, “Am I not enough?”Suggestions for supporting a grieving sibling:
- Grieve together as a family, allowing space for the individual expression of grief.
- Celebrate together, choosing important days and rituals of remembrance.
- Talk with each other about anything and everything.
- Be together. It’s easy for parents or kids to isolate from each other. Try to find things to do together.
- Seek out support.