Grieving The Death Of A Sibling - Tips For Supporting Children

Jul 9th, 2015 | Episode 18

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:
  1. Grieve together as a family, allowing space for the individual expression of grief.
  2. Celebrate together, choosing important days and rituals of remembrance.
  3. Talk with each other about anything and everything.
  4. Be together. It’s easy for parents or kids to isolate from each other. Try to find things to do together.
  5. Seek out support.
For additional suggestions, check out our Tip Sheet about siblings.
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