Chapter 2: Modelling grief

When adults are overwhelmed by grief

The expert says
Andrea Warnick, children's grief therapist, describes how adults can model grief. (3:22)Video transcript
The expert says
Camara Van Breemen, nurse practitioner, talks about supporting bereaved siblings when parent are grieving.(3:22)Video transcript

Sometimes adults are overcome by grief and show this in ways such as extreme anger or crying uncontrollably. This can happen at the time of a death, or when they learn about a death, particularly if it was unexpected. Although it’s healthy for children to see adults grieving, they may worry that a parent who's completely overwhelmed won’t be able to care for them. Children shouldn't be put in a position where they feel they must look after an adult.

If your children see you or another adult overcome by grief:

  • Talk with them afterwards.
  • Ask what they saw and how it affected them.
  • If it was you who was overwhelmed, reassure them you’re still able to take care of them.